The New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA), has issued its final decision regarding the review of the lockout and licence conditions for 14 hotels in Newcastle’s CBD.

The final decision confirms the ILGA’s initial response to the review, published in April with one minor additional change made to a condition relating to Responsible Service of Alcohol marshals. The findings published in April said that the main lockout conditions will remain in place, including a 1am or 1.30am patron lockout and a corresponding 2am or 2.30am closing time. In addition the sale and supply of liquor must cease 30 minutes before end of trading and the stockpiling of drinks is prohibited.

ILGA based its findings on an independent review by Mr Jonathan Horton QC which involved consultation with stakeholders including NSW Police, public health bodies, academics, licensed venues, industry bodies, private individuals and special interest groups.

ILGA Chair Philip Crawford said: “As we indicated in our initial response, we believe there is a strong case for maintaining the restrictions that currently apply to the 14 hotels, including patron lockouts and the requirement to stop serving alcohol 30 minutes before closing.”

When that review was published in April, it was met with disappointment and frustration from the Newcastle pub community, with AHA NSW Newcastle and Hunter President Rolly De With, saying at the time.

“While we welcome small administrative changes to the 2008 restrictions, we are disappointed the ILGA-commissioned Horton Report has not been accepted by the Authority.

“A decade on, ILGA is considering continuing with one-size-fits-all blanket measures, rather than accepting Dr Horton’s view that ‘Venues that demonstrate good practices and that pose a lower risk ought to enjoy less restrictive conditions than those which do not.’”

After publishing its initial response in April, the ILGA gave licensees 21 days to respond. In considering that feedback ILGA has agreed to a further varying a condition so that only venues trading after midnight need to employ an RSA marshal, from 11pm, to supervise the responsible service and consumption of alcohol.

Previously this applied to all 14 venues from 11pm, irrespective of their closing time.

That change is in addition to the previous condition changes in April which included:

  • No longer requiring the use of a common radio network among the 14 venues.
  • Plans of Management to be revised in consultation with NSW Police, and then varied from time to time only after consultation with NSW Police, rather than audited on a quarterly basis.

Crawford said the decision concludes the matter and gives certainty to everyone in the Newcastle community including the 14 hotels and stakeholders who contributed to the review. He thanked everyone who had contributed to the review via written submissions or by giving feedback at meetings held during the Horton Review.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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