NSW Premier Mike Baird took the next step towards curbing alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour recently with the introduction of the Personal Drink Attendant (PDA) initiative.
PDAs supervise beverages while patrons enjoy themselves dancing, partying or temporarily exiting a venue, in order to ensure that drinks are not spiked or interfered with.
PDAs are RSA trained staff who enforce the rules which arose from the ‘Lonely Glass Law’, under which any beverage left alone for a certain period of time within a licensed venue must be disposed of, with no recompense to the client.
“We have taken a stand against unsociable and violent behaviour…” read a statement from the Premier’s office.
“After extensive consultation with licensees, the police force, social workers and other stakeholders, we decided this new law was the best way forward. We promise the people of NSW we will succeed where the opposition failed and drastically reduce alcohol related incidents.”
The PDAs must wear official identification and make themselves clearly known to patrons before carrying out their services. They will not be employed directly by the venue in an effort to remove suspicion that venues are simply attempting to increase profits.
The government expects to involve private companies so as to offset some of the costs of the program. Already, during the trial phase, a number of beverage companies deployed attractive young staff members to work as PDAs.
According to the stringent guidelines of the program, the PDAs themselves will be tested to ensure they have not consumed any alcohol while on duty and they may not purchase drinks for customers.
The plan prompted scathing criticism from Sydney –siders, who blamed the growing influence of the ‘fun police’, and from international visitors keen to enjoy Sydney’s international reputation as a cosmopolitan city.
Severin and friends from Germany at first believed the story to be a joke,
“…like drop bears, ya. But, when we go to the club to make a party, a young girl told us she will watch our drink and she get paid, so we tell her that we can watch our own drink and maybe she can pay us. It’s crazy, I think Sydney is great but have so many little rules”, he said.
Kiwi backpacker Brent, from Otago, also expressed surprise at the news, before adding;
“So it’s true, you Aussies really can’t hold your drink…”