Submission: Review of Alcohol Restriction Zones

RLC has contributed to the City of Sydney's review of all its alcohol restrictions, including Alcohol Free Zones (AFZs).

RLC's findings

The establishment of AFZs have not stopped street drinkers from drinking alcohol in public places. Police have been given greater powers over the same time period, with these powers now the preferred enforcement mechanisms for preventing alcohol related anti-social behaviour and serious alcohol related crimes.

As a result, AFZs are redundant as they are no longer a supporting mechanism for effectively reducing anti-social behaviour, and are problematic insofar that they appear to be discriminatory in their application. Given that police have adequate powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, there is little benefit in continuing with the expansion and use of AFZs.

This presents an opportunity for the City of Sydney to increase the well-being of its vulnerable populations by treating those who habitually consume alcohol in public as benefiting from support services rather than police reprimands. Additional community services need to be implemented to address the root causes of alcohol dependency, which complement the key outcomes contained in the Council’s Street Drinking Strategy, Drug and Alcohol Strategy, and Sustainable Sydney 2030 Community Strategic Plan, by providing a platform for progress in balancing social inclusion and equity for disadvantaged groups, and the need to provide world class amenity and safe public environments.

RLC's Recommendations

  1. City of Sydney request the NSW Police Local Area Commands of Sydney City, Redfern, Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Leichardt, Newtown, Botany Bay, Eastern Suburbs, and Eastern Beaches, to report quarterly on the number of confiscation/tip-outs that occur in AFZs, with figures to be made available to the public.
  2. City of Sydney to audit the cost of implementation and maintenance of AFZs, with figures to be made available to the public.
  3. City of Sydney to seriously consider the establishment of Wet Centres, and other coordinated centralised services, as specialised measures to address street drinker’s needs.

For further information about the City of Sydney's Alcohol Restrictions Review, click here.