NSW Police’s refusal to release its submission to the Newcastle liquor laws inquiry after a freedom of information request was “not justified”, the state’s independent review body says.
The NSW Information and Privacy Commission has called for NSW Police to “make a new decision” after it rejected a call to unveil its submission to the Horton Review last month.
In her report for the commission, investigation and review officer Elizabeth Sheen dismissed claims that making the submission public could prejudice the inquiry process, reveal confidential information and impact the ability of police to do their job.
Ms Sheen, who reviewed the freedom of information application, rejection and police submission to the Horton Review, said “the subject of the review does not concern information provided to police in the context of investigating a criminal offence” but was input into the regulation of an industry.
NSW Police can appeal the commission’s review in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The laws introduced in 2008 affect when several CBD venues close, what types and quantities of alcoholic drinks they can serve and when the last patrons are allowed to enter the premises.
Read more: Liquor laws review extended by fortnight
Tony Brown – a vocal advocate for the conditions – made the freedom of information request to have the police submission released.
Mr Brown said he was not critical of local law enforcers, but blamed the upper echelons of NSW Police for keeping the submission under wraps.
He said he was pleased with the commission’s determination but feared the process would not be complete until after the Horton Review findings were released.
When asked for comment, a NSW Police spokesperson said the agency has 10 days to respond to the commission.
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