The head of Newcastle Liquor Accord says pubs welcome a state government trial of scrapping lockouts in the inner-city as long as the data it collects is meaningful.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Wednesday that 24 pubs, clubs and bars will be invited to join the 12-month trial, which includes no lockouts and relaxed controls over selling spirits after 10pm.
Accord chairman Mick Starkey expects all the invited venues to take part, though some do not open past midnight and will not benefit from the scrapping of lockouts beyond 1am and 1.30am.
"We want the trial to succeed. Public amenity is the main priority here, and the good of Newcastle," he said.
The accord, which represents the liquor industry, is developing a coordinated program to ban troublemakers from venues.
"There's a number of initiatives we'll be undertaking in the next couple of months to make sure this trial is a success, that public amenity stays in a realm that is acceptable," Mr Starkey said.
A committee of council, government, police, health, hospitality industry and community representatives will evaluate the trial's impact on employment, patronage, business turnover, violence, hospital admissions, noise complaints and residential amenity.
We want to make sure we get a meaningful baseline that is a fair comparison.Mick Starkey
An evaluation plan sent to committee members last week proposes that the trial use September 2020 as a data baseline for business turnover, patronage and employment comparisons, even though the city's three major nightclubs were closed that month and crowd numbers in all venues were capped at 300 or one person per four square metres.
It is understood the choice of September 2020 has raised eyebrows among some pub and club operators concerned that it will undermine public confidence in the results.
"We want to make sure we get a meaningful baseline that is a fair comparison," Mr Starkey said.
The trial committee will use baseline crime and hospital data from the preceding two years.
The venues identified to participate are the King Street Hotel, Argyle House, Finnegan's, Kent, Exchange, Northern Star, Hamilton Station, Sydney Junction, Greenroof, Crown & Anchor, Cambridge, The Lucky, Queens Wharf Brewery, Honeysuckle Hotel, Family, Grand, Clarendon, Customs House, Great Northern, Oriental, Bar Petite, Rogue Scholar and the yet-to-open QT Hotel in the Hunter Street Mall.
It is understood more pubs could be invited to join before the trial starts on July 1.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said in March that the trial would "set the scene" for the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority to consider a permanent end to lockouts in Newcastle.
Inner-city Newcastle and Hamilton are the only parts of the state with lockouts still in place after the government removed them in Sydney's CBD and Kings Cross.
Newcastle anti-violence campaigner Tony Brown questioned the make-up of the trial committee, saying it was "stacked with alcohol industry representatives".
He called for members of the police union and Royal Australasian College of Physicians, both of which oppose removing lockouts, and leading University of Newcastle alcohol researcher Kypros Kypri to be invited to join the committee.
"We need fairness to be done, not just seen to be done," he said.
Mr Brown hoped the new trial would not repeat the "shambolic outcome" of the small bar trial, which Mr Dominello declared a success before the committee had reviewed its findings.
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