NEWCASTLE continues to have the highest number of alcohol-related assaults and hospital admittances in the Lower Hunter despite the late-night inner-city curfew.
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show there were almost 800 alcohol-related assaults per 100,000 people in the Newcastle local government area between April 2007 and March this year.
By comparison, there were 560 assaults in Maitland per 100,000 residents, 558 in Cessnock, 504 in Port Stephens and 369 in Lake Macquarie for the same period.
The assault figures are mirrored in the NSW chief medical officer's report that shows there were 92 hospital admittances per 100,000 people in Newcastle. The figure compares with 84.5 in Cessnock, 81.2 in Lake Macquarie, 79 in Maitland and 71 in Port Stephens.
The same trends are reflected for malicious damage to property and offensive behaviour offences.
Newcastle's late-night curfew, which required inner-city licensed premises to be locked down in the early hours, was introduced to reduce alcohol-related violence and antisocial behaviour.
The curfew is due to be reviewed next month.
NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca said yesterday more than 40,000 drinkers were admitted to NSW hospitals each year.
He will call for a ban on alcohol advertising at the national health ministers' round table next month.
"Binge drinking is caused by a number of factors but advertising does not help," Mr Della Bosca said.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said more needed to be done to encourage people to drink responsibly.
"Most people drink responsibly," he said.
"Measures like those being proposed by Mr Della Bosca are based on the mistaken belief that advertising, and not people's individual decisions, are responsible for binge drinking."
Life Education is encouraging all drinkers to refrain from alcohol throughout October to raise funds for Life Education Australia.