Tweed pubs, clubs winning fight against violence

A LIST of the 100 most-violent pubs and clubs in NSW has been revealed, with not one Tweed venue on it. Tweed women Melissa Uitendaal, Donna Munro and Carolyn Flood say they are not surprised by the findings, as they never feel unsafe when they go out to local hotels. "I've never ever had any problems when going out," said Ms Flood, 42, who lives at Casuarina. The clubs that were the most violent, according to the data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, were Sydney establishments the Mean Fiddler Hotel in Rouse Hill, followed by the Coogee Bay Hotel. The data was based on the number of assaults within ven- ues from January to September 2007 according to police records. Only one Byron Bay club, Cheeky Monkey's, appeared on the list, along with two Lismore venues. The three Tweed women, who were enjoying lunch at The Saltbar at Salt yesterday, said they often went out for drinks across the border in Coolangatta, but said the recent refurbishments to the Coolangatta Hotel and the Coolangatta Sands Hotel had lifted the calibre of the venues. "The Cooly Hotel have really lifted their game. They've got a beautiful restaurant now," Ms Munro, 41, said. "Even the Sands has improved. "We don't have any problems in the hotels; we have them outside the hotels." Ms Uitendaal, 41, and her husband used to own Coolangatta nightclub Baja before selling - it three years ago due to family commitments. She says she saw her fair share of assaults and anti-social behav- iour occurring outside the venue. "I saw a few incidents and I broke up a few incidents," she said. "It's because people drink too much and get all feisty, but don't realise when they are drunk they can kill someone with a punch." Tweed Coast Liquor Accord chairman Rob Smith said he was happy to hear of the absence of any Tweed hotels on the notori- ous list, and said it was thanks to the continued efforts of the Liquor Accord in making sure%licensed venues remained safe. The liquor accord is a voluntary partnership involving local licensees, police, council, the RTA, the North Coast Area Health Service and taxi companies, and their aim is to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol. "We are very pleased," said Mr Smith, who is also the chief executive at Twin Towns Services Club. "We work very diligently towards making sure our local venues are well managed and secure. "It is also about patron education, making sure patrons are aware of our obligations and of their own obligations when it comes to the responsible service and the consumption of alcohol." A number of initiatives have been implemented by the liquor accord, including curfews, increased security and restrictions on shots. Latest figures show a nine per cent decrease in assaults at licensed venues within the Tweed Heads/Byron area since July 2007.



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