By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

The Australian Hotels Association NSW has questioned the success of the State Government’s lockout legislation, in its submission to the Callinan review.

In its submission, AHA NSW made 13 recommendations, with the main one being the removal of the 1:30am lockout policy in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts. Instead, it suggests a ‘no new patrons’ policy after 3:00am to replace the ‘no service’ policy at that time. This recommendation is backed by the success the policy is currently enjoying in the inner west suburb of Newtown, where late-night patronage has increased, but levels of violence have remained low.

AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing, John Green (pictured), said that the association backs evidence-based strategies that target problem venues, rather than policy that is inflicted the industry as a whole.

“Two years ago we saw the introduction of a series of blanket measures that unfairly penalise many safe, well-run venues with a proven track record of compliance,” he said.

“The Liquor Act already has real teeth to deal with rogue operators. The power to cancel or suspend a licence already exists, as does the power to disqualify any person from having an interest in the business.

“Imposing additional blanket measures on everyone, regardless of whether they are a good or bad operator, is poor policy.”

Green stated that both hotel operators and academics agreed that the current lockout policy was ineffective.

“In the absence of evidence proving the lockout measure to be successful, we advocate its removal,” he said.

“There have been 36 different measures imposed on Kings Cross since 2012 and 21 on the Sydney CBD. Which ones work and which don’t?”

Instead, AHA NSW suggested in its submission that the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts adopt policies like those adopted in Newtown.

“Crowd numbers are up in Newtown, but violence has remained at low levels. This has been achieved through the local community, including hoteliers, working together on issues in their own area.”

In the submission, take-away liquor legislation was also questioned, with the recommendation made to reverse the 10:00pm restriction on takeaway liquor sales.

“We can’t work out why country and regional pubs have been caught up in this Sydney-centric legislation. The bush pub has been hurt particularly hard by the banning of over the counter take-away sales after 10.00pm.

“We also can’t understand why the Government has banned adults from buying a bottle of wine at 10.01pm to take home or enjoy with a BYO meal.”

This is in line with the comments made in the submission by the Liquor Stores Association NSW, which described current policy as a “one-size-fits-all approach” and a ‘blanket measure”.

AHA NSW has welcomed the independent Callinan review, which allows different interest groups and stakeholders to voice their suggestions.

“We see the best results when industry, government, the police and the community all work together,” he said

“The long-term aim must be to bring about cultural change that will render violence, including drunken violence, unacceptable at any level in our society.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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1 Comment

  1. I also found it surprising that on Good Friday, I could walk into a pub but I couldn’t buy a bottle of wine to share it amongst friends and family? Good work thus far but this fun police is really detrimental to our social culture.

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