The long-term effect of lockouts on alcohol-related emergency department attendances within Ballarat, Australia

Peter Miller, Kerri Coomber, Anders Sønderlund, Stephen Mckenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Aims. Alcohol has consistently been demonstrated to increase levels of aggression and violence, particularly in late night licensed venues. Since August 2003, Ballarat (a regional city of approximately 95000 inhabitants, in Victoria, Australia) has implemented a 3:00 am'lockout' with the goal of reducing alcohol-related harms. This paper is the first long-term analysis of the effect of this type of intervention on emergency department (ED) attendances. The aim of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of a lockout intervention within the city of Ballarat, Victoria on alcohol-related ED presentations. Design and Methods. This paper examines alcohol-related injury frequencies pre- to post-lockout intervention in Ballarat, Victoria, from 1999 to 2009, as indicated by ED International Classification of Diseases codes for acute alcohol intoxication and assault. These data are further compared with similar data from Geelong, Victoria, as a control. Results. A small reduction in alcohol-related assaults and intoxication rates within Ballarat occurred before and after the introduction of the lockout. However, after this decline these rates steadily increased, surpassing Geelong by 2005. Discussion and Conclusions. There is no discernible long-term impact on alcohol-related ED attendances of the lockout intervention in Ballarat. As such, other interventions may be more appropriate to reduce alcohol-related ED attendances. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Licensed venue
  • Lockout
  • Trading hour
  • Violence

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