A councillor has slammed a Sydney council’s decision to ban alcohol at beaches and parks on Australia Day, saying the “silly” move is infringing on local’s freedoms.
The Northern Beaches Council voted this week to impose a temporary 24-hour booze ban on the sand area of all beaches and at parks and reserves within the local government area from 6am on January 26 to 6am on January 27. It's understood the restriction has been implemented every year since at least 2017.
During an interview with 2GB’s Joe Hildebrand on Thursday morning, Liberal Councillor Rory Amon criticised the move, deeming it a “nanny state issue which has just gone a bit too far”.
“From where I stand in the water of our beaches trying to enjoy a beer, what this really seems to me is a bit of nanny state madness,” he told Mr Hildebrand, who said the decision appeared to be an “extraordinarily un-Australian thing to do”.
“The theory goes that on Australia Day you have more people out drinking, therefore there’s high risk — well Joe we don’t just ban things because there is a risk, what we do is we punish those who have broken the rules or are misbehaving and we shouldn’t let the actions of one badly behaved person ruin the experience for everyone else.
“Just because it’s wet we don’t ban cars on the road, even though it’s riskier, and likewise on Australia Day, just because there is a heightened risk of anti-social behaviour that doesn’t mean we should ban [booze].”
Mr Amon said the issue rears its head every year because police from the Northern Beaches Police Area Command request the powers and the council abides.
“But I adopt the view that let’s address these issues with common sense, one issue at a time, and in this case there’s simply not a problem so what are we trying to fix. It’s a simple matter of a reach too far,” he told 2GB.
People want to enjoy their freedoms, councillor says
The councillor said the debate over the booze ban isn’t about glorifying the consumption of alcohol, but is focused on “maximising the freedom of every individual”.
“We shouldn’t be taking people’s abilities to do things because one person might misbehave, we need to come down hard on those who do the wrong thing and let everyone else who wants to enjoy themselves doing the right thing, let them do that,” he said.
“We are so over governed, so over regulated. We’ve just come out of lockdowns and restricted freedoms and all people want is to enjoy more of their freedoms, not less of them.”
On Tuesday, the Northern Beaches Council also voted for a 24-hour alcohol ban at the Rowland Reserve Bayview on New Year’s Eve. The area is a popular spot for families to gather to watch the fireworks.
“Police believe this initiative will have a positive effect on the local community and will reduce anti-social behaviour which is often brought about with the consumption of alcohol in these areas,” a letter from the police force included in the council’s agenda reads.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.