Newcastle strategy to combat alcohol-fuelled violence sets example for state

PRESSURE is mounting on the state government to crack down on alcohol-fuelled violence across NSW, using strategies first implemented in Newcastle.

A series of serious incidents across NSW in recent weeks has led to debate raging across the state over licensing hours and 1am lockouts.

Police are accusing Shaun McNeil of going on a 90-second rampage on New Year's Eve in Kings Cross, assaulting five people including teenager Daniel Christie who had his life support turned off last weekend.

Michael McEwen was only released from hospital last week after being bashed at a Bondi bus stop in the early hours of December 14.

Newcastle Knights player Russell Packer was sentenced to two years jail last week after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, after a booze-fuelled night in the Sydney CBD.

Kelsy Johnson, 23, was described by doctors as lucky to be alive after suffering bleeding and bruising on the brain from a single-punch attack outside Merewether's Prince of Wales Hotel on December 22.

Last week Lake Macquarie state MP Greg Piper joined the demands for action by calling for a state summit.

He said a summit should involve emergency services, medical and legal staff, the hotel industry, as well as victims' families.

"As a society we need to discuss the issues around access to alcohol and whether restrictions like the Newcastle solution are worth implementing," Mr Piper said.

"It is important to hear from the people at the frontline of this crisis and take politics out of the issue. We need a considered response, not a knee-jerk reaction."

Meanwhile the NSW government has backed calls for "king hit" attacks to instead be referred to as "coward punches".

It is hoped the change in language will help embarrass and shame attackers.

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