The City of Sydney has commissioned the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation to collaborate with not-for-profit research group New Democracy Foundation to develop a new approach to tackling the problems of alcohol-fuelled late night violence.
From a pool of 20,000 metropolitan citizens, they will convene a Citizens’ Policy Jury of 43 randomly selected participants to begin meeting in February 2014.
“Those people can’t have any alignment with political parties and interest groups or lobbyist groups, so they will be quite independent in that sense,” said City of Sydney Councillor Jenny Green.
“It’s the most democratic, true representation from the community with informed briefings to allow them to work through to make decisions and recommendations.”
The jury will be tasked with delivering at least five recommendations to ensure Sydney’s nightlife remains vibrant. The City of Sydney has said the recommendations must be “specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and attached to a timeline”.
New Democracy Foundation Executive Director Iain Walker said: “By asking everyday people to use their judgment to find common ground after being informed by experts of their own choosing, we expect to produce a set of useful recommendations which the public trust as they’re being made by people like them.”
The role and input of experts, interest groups and community groups will be entirely up to the jury.
“There will be submission from various lobbyists and all those stakeholders that will be interested,” Ms Green said. “It could be doctors, it could be politicians, the alcohol industry, government – a whole range. They can call for speakers from each of those various groups to come and give them more information.”
Scott Weber, President of the NSW Police Association, argues that an independent office should be established that better connects with policing, family and community services, health, justice, land planning and local government.
“The regulation of liquor licensing needs to be independent of vested industry interests,” he said.
“Under the Department of Trade and Investment’s accommodating watch, industry has been given the complete freedom to write its own rules with disastrous consequences. That can’t be allowed to continue if NSW wants to reduce its heavy alcohol toll.”