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Alcohol and Drug fuelled violence initiatives

Minimum mandatory sentence for ‘one punch’ assaults

The NSW Government has introduced a new offence for ‘one punch’ assaults, where a person unlawfully assaults another who dies as a direct or indirect result of the assault. The offence will carry a 20 year maximum sentence.

The scope of the offence will be expanded to ensure that it covers things worn by the offender that are used to hit the victim and circumstances where the offender uses force to cause the victim's body to hit the ground or other thing.

Where the offender was intoxicated in public by alcohol or drugs, a minimum mandatory sentence of 8 years and a maximum sentence of 25 years applies.

Mandatory minimum sentences for serious alcohol or drug-fuelled violent offences

New aggravated personal violence offences will be created where the offender is intoxicated in public by alcohol or drugs. Existing maximum sentences will be increased by two years. Mandatory minimum sentences will be introduced for the most serious of the aggravated offences.


Current max. sentence

New max sentence

New mandatory minimum
Reckless grievous bodily harm - in company 14 years 16 years 5 years
Reckless grievous bodily harm 10 years 12 years 4 years
Reckless wounding - in company 10 years 12 years 4 years
Reckless wounding 7 years 9 years 3 years
Assault police - reckless grievous bodily harm or wounding (not during a public disorder) 12 years 14 years 5 years
Assault police - reckless grievous bodily harm or wounding (public disorder) 14 years 16 years 5 years

The new penalties complement current laws where the vulnerability of the victim, including age, is an aggravating factor which must be taken into account on sentence under s21A(2)(l) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.

New definition of public intoxication

For the purposes of the new aggravated offences, a person will be intoxicated if his or her speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is noticeably affected as the result of taking alcohol or drugs. In addition, a person will be deemed intoxicated if he or she returns a blood-alcohol reading of 0.15 or higher within six hours of the offence.

The new aggravated offences apply to public places which include places in or in the vicinity of any premises or land open to the public. Licensed venues, restricted premises (such as brothels) and bikie headquarters are also expressly covered.

The definition of public intoxication will extend to intoxicated one-punch assaults.

Voluntary intoxication removed as a mitigating factor in sentencing

Voluntary intoxication by drugs or alcohol has been removed as a mitigating factor when courts determine sentences.

Drug and alcohol testing for suspected offenders

Police will be empowered to conduct drug and alcohol testing where officers suspect an offender has committed an alcohol or drug fuelled violent assault. Testing will be able to be conducted up to twelve hours after the offence. The results of drug and alcohol tests may be used along with other evidence that the offender was intoxicated.

A new CBD-wide precinct

The NSW Government has established a new CBD Entertainment Precinct, stretching from Kings Cross to Cockle Bay, and The Rocks to Haymarket and Darlinghurst.

Variations may be made to precinct boundaries and/or new precincts to be established in other areas experiencing high levels of alcohol and drug-related problems.

Within the new CBD precinct, special licence conditions will be imposed on venues by regulation. These could include prohibiting the use of glass, restrictions on outlaw motorcycle gangs, the use of RSA marshals, and the use of CCTV systems.

‘Party boats’ and ‘party buses’ that leave from, or operate within, the precinct will also be subject to restrictions.

1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks

Pubs, bars and registered clubs within the CBD precinct are not allowed to admit patrons after 1.30am and the service of alcohol must cease at 3.00am. This excludes small bars (<60 patrons), restaurants and tourism accommodation establishments.

Venues currently licenced to remain open beyond 3.00am can continue to operate but without alcohol service.

The lockout system and associated measures will be subject to an independent statutory review after two years of operation.

Free transport

Free buses now leave every 10 minutes from Kings Cross to the CBD after 1.00am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Freeze on new licences

A precinct-wide freeze on liquor licences for new pubs and clubs has been introduced. Small bars (< 60 patrons), restaurants and tourist accommodation establishments are exempt from the freeze.

Precinct bans

Police have been given powers to issue precinct wide or part precinct banning orders to remove troublemakers for up to a maximum of 48 hours.

In addition, the Police Commissioner will be empowered to apply to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to exclude a person or persons from a precinct or part of a precinct for an extended period of time.

Periodic risk-based licensing scheme

A periodic risk-based liquor licensing scheme will be introduced, modelled in part on the system applied in Victoria.

Higher fees will be imposed on premises that have later trading hours, poor compliance histories and/or are situated in high-risk locations. Premises will have the ability to reduce their level of fees through improved compliance.

Earlier closing times for bottle shops and liquor stores

Changes have been made across the state to ensure no bottle shops or liquor stores can trade beyond 10.00pm.

Increased fines

On-the-spot fines issued by Police for anti-social behaviour will be increased.

Crime infringement Notice type

Current fee

Proposed fee

Offensive language $150 $500
Offensive behaviour $200 $500
Continuation of intoxicated and disorderly behaviour following a move on direction $200 $1100


Tougher penalties for the supply and possession of steroids

The maximum sentence for the illegal supply and possession of steroids has been increased from 2 years to 25 years, bringing it into line with Victoria.

Review online RSA courses

Until changes are made to improve the integrity of the online Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification, online courses has been suspended.

Sales Enforcement

Police-run covert controlled operations involving minors or young-looking adults will be permitted, supporting enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

Advertising campaign

A high-profile road-safety style social media and advertising campaign will be developed and implemented to address the issues of community perceptions and drinking culture.