Venues and community organisations are concerned about powers being sought by the City of Sydney to further restrict opening hours for pubs and clubs.

An amendment to the Late Night Trading DCP would allow council to force venues on trial opening hours to revert to base hours on a single complaint, which could only be appealed via the courts.

This would apply only to new development applications, something Stonewall licensee Craig Bell said would be a nightmare for venues operating out of heritage buildings where DAs were needed for even very small changes.

“The moment we submit a DA they will be able to put the venue back onto a trial period and say we shouldn’t be able to trade past 2am,” Bell told Sydney Star Observer.

“If this goes through I will not put a DA in to improve this business in any way shape or form.”

Bell said the late night trading industry had moved to reduce the number of assaults inside venues, and problems on the streets should be dealt with by police.

“I would like to see police able to deposit troublemakers into sobering rooms where they can be supervised until they are no longer drunk,” Bell said.

“We have a safe injecting room for heroin, yet we don’t have a facility in this whole state to manage intoxicated persons.”

Arq and Imperial owner Shad Danesi said an independent authority was needed to assess complaints.

“If allegations are made they should be tested before an independent person before a venue suffers harm to its business,” he said.

“Council should not have the power to do financial harm to a business on the basis of allegations which may later may be proven to be false.

“Police and council already have the power to close down out of control venues for the night – they don’t need this additional power.”

Oxford Hotel licensee Roger Z said a holistic approach would prove more beneficial.

“This issue cuts across the board — from alcohol companies, to advertising, to police, to venues themselves. Just picking one area and trying to solve it all through that will probably end up having the reverse effect,” he said.

Z said the clustering of services for homeless and mentally ill people and those with drug and alcohol problems near the nightclub strip was an issue.

New Mardi Gras (NMG) and ACON were still analysing the city’s plans but hoped there would be consultation with stakeholders.

NMG co-chair Peter Urmson said changes should not punish the wrong people.

“I would like to think there would be other measures that could be taken first to try to address this issue so that the majority isn’t penalised for the actions of a minority,” he said.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said any amendments to the DCP needed to consider that establishments in the Oxford St area were some of the only places GLBTI people could socialise in relative safety.

“Any amendments must also consider that ACON runs a range of outreach and health promotion programs for the GLBT community in many venues in the Oxford St precinct and any restrictions on the operations of these venues could significantly impact on our ability to promote HIV/STI prevention messages and distribute safe sex resources,” he said.

A City of Sydney spokesperson said the Late Night Trading DCP permitted licensed premises to trade up to 24 hours a day, providing they did so safely and the amendment encouraged the responsible management of late night trading premises.

“We are committed to continuing to work with licensees, police and residents to improve safety and the sustainability of our late night precincts so that everybody can safely enjoy a fun and diverse night out,” the spokesman said.

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