A group of New South Wales Nationals MPs have broken government ranks over the state’s liquor laws, which they say unfairly affect people in the bush.
The laws have been in place for almost two years, after being introduced to curb alcohol-related violence across the state.
Sydney’s entertainment precinct was affected by rules imposing 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am last drinks, and there have been mixed views on its success.
A NSW-wide ban on takeaway alcohol sales after 10:00pm was also introduced.
Premier Mike Baird has recently affirmed his support for the laws as have members of the health sector and victims of alcohol-related violence.
However, a group of Nationals MPs have said people in regional areas have been unfairly affected by the liquor laws, particularly the rules restricting trading hours for bottle shops.
Lismore MP Thomas George said local businesses were also being harmed, as well as patrons.
“I’ve been highlighting the concerns of one-hotel towns that have been expressed to me, that the restriction is really hurting them and their patrons after 10:00pm,” he said.
“Daylight savings is a perfect example, where some people on the land may not even get into a hotel until 9:30pm or 10:00pm, and then if they want to take takeaways, well after 10:00pm you just can’t.”
Mr George also said, in some circumstances, it was unreasonable to suggest that people could find time in their week to purchase alcohol inside trading hours.
“In country areas, where there’s only just the one outlet in the community … working on the land and finishing up late, [people] are not in that position to be able to organise themselves to fit in with those hours.”
Source: ABC News