Desperate need for change: The death Thomas Kelly, an innocent victim of alcohol-fuelled violence, has increased awareness about the need to make Kings Cross a safer place. Photo: Supplied
The largest Kings Cross hotels and nightclubs will have to scan the identification of customers every night of the week and for 24 hours on Fridays, weekends and public holidays under rules designed to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.
Hoteliers had been pushing to restrict the system - whereby patrons must have photo ID scanned upon entry - to Friday and Saturday nights and only for venues with a history of violence.
But hospitality minister George Souris will announce the state government plans to implement the system for the majority of opening hours and for all venues with a capacity of 120 or more that trade past midnight.
The decision means scanners will be in operation at 35 venues in Kings Cross from 7pm on Thursdays until 7am on Mondays and between 7pm and 7am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
They will operate all day on public holidays and also for the preceding 24 hours. The same will apply to ''special days'' nominated by the director-general of the NSW department of trade and investment.
The scanners will be mandatory during all trading hours for hotel and nightclubs categorised as level one or level two on the state government's violent venues list or those who receive a ''strike'' under the ''three strikes'' policy.
The government hopes to implement the system in time for the ''peak summer trading period'' and will review it in 12 months.
The network of linked scanners - which are to be paid for by the venues - is designed to prevent customers who are thrown out of a venue entering another. They will also be used to enforce bans imposed on patrons from entering Kings Cross venues for 48 hours or up to a year under legislation being considered by the NSW Parliament.
''Individuals who think they can go out, get blind drunk and wreak havoc in Kings Cross need to know it won't be tolerated,'' Mr Souris said.
The announcement coincides with a push for Sydney's largest late trading venues to have to pay up to tens of thousands of dollars in annual fees to the state government under a proposed ''risk-based licensing'' regime.
The idea is being promoted by the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance, a coalition of medical, law enforcement and community groups, in its submission to a statutory review of the Liquor Act. Under a risk-based scheme, venues would be charged an annual licence fee based on factors including trading hours, capacity and licence type. Similar schemes are in place in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT.
The alliance estimates that based on the ACT system, Sydney's most violent venue, Ivy, would pay an annual fee of more than $25,000.