Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE: I wish to ask the Minister for Planning and Minister for Energy a question without notice. What action is the Government taking to reduce violence and anti-social behaviour at Kings Cross, The Rocks and Darling Harbour over the new year holiday period as a result of alcohol consumption?
The Hon. R. J. Webster: I suspect that the question should be answered by the Leader of the House. I defer to him as he has responsibility for law and order.
The Hon. E. P. PICKERING: I thank the honourable member for his question. Honourable members will recall that the Government introduced legislation to this Parliament some time ago which was innovative and provided the ability for local government to declare areas to be drink-free zones. This sort of approach has been very effectively used for some time now in some western towns without the benefit of the necessary law. On a visit to one of those towns with my dear friend the previous Attorney General, Mr Dowd was kind enough to advise all and sundry that their action was ultra vires, and that it required attention in the Parliament. That was provided recently. I understand that local government has taken a decision to declare certain areas as drink-free zones during the forthcoming festive season. It will be interesting to note its effect. There is no doubt that there have been occasions, particularly under the former Labor administration, when ugly scenes developed on New Year's Eve at The Rocks. I remember that one year a young man was bashed to death by some young revellers who used an iron bar. That is hardly a way to behave. However, in the past few years the revellers have been well-behaved on New Year's Eve. It will be interesting to note how the action taken by local government enhances the quality of the festivities for law-abiding citizens, particularly for families who want to come to the city to enjoy the fireworks without being harassed by those who have overindulged in alcoholic beverages.