Hunter doctors say Newcastle's liquor laws must be maintained

PLEA: Dr. Peter Saul has led the collective thought's of Hunter medical practitioners. Picture: Simone De Peak.
PLEA: Dr. Peter Saul has led the collective thought's of Hunter medical practitioners. Picture: Simone De Peak.

MORE than 300 Hunter doctors have made a plea to the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) to maintain Newcastle’s alcohol restrictions. 

The doctors, who have made collective and individual submissions to the ILGA, provided the Herald with their detailed letter calling for the CBD laws to not only be maintained, but extended to the suburbs. 

Venues on Beaumont Street in Hamilton would come under the same rules as the CBD if the doctors’ submission plans were adopted.

Their submission comes after Hunter New England Health called for further restrictions than already in place to be applied to establishments considered at a higher risk of late-night assaults.

“This is a grassroots surge of support for these restrictions on alcohol,” said Dr Peter Saul, who works in intensive care. 

“The reason why there’s so much support is because we know this is working. We’ve got really good evidence that it’s working, people have looked into this really carefully and it’s a proven community strategy.”

The doctors’ letter cited data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research which showed in the 10-year period from October 2007-2017, there had been a 79 per cent reduction in non-domestic assaults recorded by police in Newcastle and Newcastle West on Friday and Saturday nights. 

The ILGA announced the review into Newcastle’s licensing conditions in November, giving stakeholders four weeks to make submissions.

That period was extended to January 24 to give the public more time for submissions, and then further extended to February 7 after the discovery of an online technical glitch.