New proposals for Kings Cross include “wind down hour” and free lollipops

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Sydney club district Kings Cross has been a media talking point (again) in recent weeks, following the death of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly after an unprovoked attack. Now politicians, publicans and newspaper columnists have all entered the debate about how to make the Cross safer for the thousands of people who stream into the area each weekend to go clubbing and bar-hopping and McDonalds eating. Some suggestions, like those of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore to “say no more venues in this area and scale back the existing ones”, have proven to be controversial, and the discussions are showing no signs of slowing down.

One truly curveball idea for curbing anti-social behaviour has emerged from council documents, as reported by The Daily Telegraph: “One interesting measure used by a pub in England was to give free lollipops to patrons as they left because they were less likely to make noise while they were eating a lollipop.” As part of “dispersal plans”, punters leaving venues after 2am could apparently be issued with lollipops to reduce disturbance for residents. The council documents also proposed: “We will work with venues and the NSW government to introduce options such as a wind-down hour as a standard practice, where alcohol is not served, lights are made brighter and music slows down.” (They’re not talking about Moombahton.)

A commuity forum is set to be held tonight, Tuesday 17 July, at the Sydney Town Hall to discuss issues of violence in the Cross. Ahead of the panel, NSW Hospitality Minister George Souris appeared on ABC Radio, speculating: “Drug-taking, the use of methamphetamines, the use of steroids…has created a far bigger social problem, and bad behaviour that emanates from that is not solely the responsibility of alcohol. You can’t just isolate the whole issue to licensed venues.”

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