Yarra Council has updated its rules on drinking in public places, formally deciding to continue the local law at last night’s Council Meeting.
Under the local law, the consumption of alcohol is allowed across Yarra’s 121 parks and gardens from 9am to 9pm. However, alcohol is not permitted in streets and other public spaces at any time.
The local law is almost identical to its predecessor, which has operated for the past 10 years.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Danae Bosler said, “We received more than 280 community submissions on the local law, which shows there are strong arguments for and against.”
“We decided that the best way forward was to have a local law in place for two more years while we work with our community, particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, about the MOU we have developed with Victoria Police as well as investigate the impact of any state legislative changes expected next year.”
“Our aim is to ensure that Yarra’s streets remain safe and welcoming for all.”
“We also understand the importance of socialising in public spaces, and that’s why we are continuing to allow public drinking to take place in many of Yarra’s parks and gardens between 9am and 9pm.”
The Mayor acknowledged that some people still have concerns about the local law, particularly Yarra’s local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“We acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been unfairly impacted by the criminal justice system in this country,” the Mayor said.
“The local law does not empower police officers or council staff members to arrest or imprison people. A $100 infringement notice is the maximum penalty.”
“We have only issued one fine over the past six years, which shows that a friendly warning almost always does the trick.”
Yarra Council is currently developing on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Victoria Police and representatives from our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“The MoU will commit Victoria Police officers to consider the complex social and economic challenges that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person may be facing, as well as their special cultural connection with a public space.”