By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
John Green, Director of Liquor and Policing for the Australian Hotels Association NSW, has met with regional hoteliers to discuss the issues they are currently facing – namely the ban on takeaway liquor sales after 10pm, and counterfeit $50 notes.
In two separate meetings, Green met with hoteliers from the Macarthur/Southern Highlands and Illawarra sub-branches to discuss 10pm bottleshop closures, reductions in assault rates on-premise, and counterfeit notes.
New South Wales’ Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has found that assault rates in pubs in Macarthur and the Southern Highlands are down 40.8 per cent since 2008. Green implied that this result was thanks to working with the community and stakeholders, rather than recent lockout legislation.
“We have seen a sustained drop in assaults in the Southern Highlands and the Macarthur region over several years now – this shows what can be done when hoteliers work with police, council and community to develop local solutions to local problems,” Mr Green said.
“Importantly, these sustained reductions have been achieved not by draconian measures being imposed, but through hoteliers working collaboratively with police and communities at the local level.”
In the Illawarra region, BOCSAR figures show that the assault rate in pubs is down 52.7 per cent since 2008. Hoteliers at the meeting expressed their dissatisfaction with their venues being subjected to laws that have negatively impacted on their businesses.
“Hoteliers from across the Illawarra listened to a report about the AHA submission to the Callinan review and then expressed their ongoing issues with the 10pm bottle shop closures,” said Green.
“The publicans are unhappy that they have been caught up in the Sydney-centric legislation and said they find it ridiculous that the thousands of tourists who visit the Illawarra each year, and locals as well, can’t grab a six-pack or bottle of wine to take to their accommodation when they arrive in town late, or after they’ve had a meal.”
At the meeting, Green also warned Illawarra publicans about the dispersal of counterfeit $50 notes. Four separate incidences have occurred on licensed premises in the region, with one arrest having been made by NSW Police Force’s Wollongong Local Command.
One publican in the meeting had been handed one of the fake notes and commented that they were of good quality, but that their colouration was off, looking more yellow than gold like an authentic bill. He also noted that some of the ink would disappear when the notes were scrunched up. Hoteliers were advised to keep an eye out for these irregularities.
On a more positive note, at the meetings Tom Porter of the Moss Vale Hotel and Michael Dennis of the Ocean Beach Hotel were re-elected as presidents of the Macarthur/Southern Highlands and Illawarra sub-branches respectively.
In a show of the industry’s philanthropy, The Macarthur/Southern Highlands sub-branch also made a donation of $15,000 to Men’s Sheds in Tahmoor, Bargo, Colo Vale and Bowral.