Alcohol-free zones in Dubbo look set to continue until 2007 when council votes on a recommendation to extend the ban today.

The city’s two alcohol-free zones are located in the CBD and West Dubbo, and the ban came into effect for three years on New Year’s Day 2002.

That time is now up and, after seeking submissions from police, hoteliers and a number of Aboriginal agencies, there have been no objection to the alcohol-free zones continuing for another three years.

The one submission council received came from Orana Local Area Commander Superintendent Stuart Smith who said the zones would still be beneficial in reducing crime.

The NSW Discrimination Board also had no objections to a continuation of the ban.

The council report recommending the three-year extension indicated crime in the CBD was still “too high” despite the alcohol-free zones and presence of safety cameras.

But the report also stressed the removal of penalties for drinking on the street would undo the inroads made by the alcohol ban.

“The removal of any penalty for street drinking could result in a return to pre-2001 conditions of indiscriminate open street drinking and the resultant criminal acts,” the report said.

“To maintain the current low incidence of street drinking it is recommended the alcohol-free zones be maintained.”

The CBD alcohol-free zone covers 13 blocks east of the Macquarie River and the LH Ford Bridge, taking in parts of Darling Street, Brisbane Street and Cobra Street.

The West Dubbo zone takes in the Emile Serisier Bridge and parts of Whylandra and Victoria streets. The costs involved in extending the ban include altering the dates on the 110 signs across the city.

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