South Australia’s Liquor and Gambling regulator, Consumer and Business Services, has decided that the state’s 3am lockout will remain in place, following a review into the state’s Late Night Trading Code of Practice. The review is also considering other measures to better protect patrons and staff at venues that are open after 2am.

The lockout laws were first introduced in 2015, in an effort to curb late-night antisocial behaviour within the CBD.

Commissioner for Liquor and Gambling Dini Soulio said data provided by authorities indicated that the Code had been successful in its aims.

“Alcohol-related presentations to the Royal Adelaide Hospital have more than halved since 2015, while offences in the CBD committed between midnight and 7am on a Saturday and Sunday remain significantly lower now than in 2015,” he said.

“And while some of this can be attributed to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it still indicates that the Code is helping keep people safe in the CBD.

“I appreciate industry members have concerns about the lockout, and I will keep working with them to see what can be done to alleviate some of their concerns, but the fact is the lockout is backed by key agencies responsible for health and public safety, as well as community groups.”

AHA|SA advocated strongly against the retention of lockouts, citing the lack of its usage in other states.

“Victoria has the capacity to impose them but chooses not to, as they would rather embrace their vibrant 24 hour economy. When it was trialled in Sydney, it was abandoned… it almost decimated the industry. It nearly brought Kings Cross it to its knees,” explains AHA|SA CEO Anne Moeller.

The CEO suggests that if anything, the lockouts help instigate the antisocial behaviour that the government is trying to prevent.

“What they have the effect of doing is actually pushing the antisocial behaviour out into the street, and away from inside the venues that are safer, because they have they generally have a lot of security at that time of the night.

“It also pushes the problem from the strip, where those [late-night] venues are open to surrounding streets where there’s public transport. Because Ubers and taxis don’t go down that strip. That also leads to antisocial behaviour and assaults occurring in fast food outlets, which is where people go when they can’t get into any venues. So yes we’re opposed to the lockout laws continuing.”

In addition to retaining the 3am lockout, the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner is proposing to ban the sale of shots after 2am, bringing the rule into line with the existing prohibition on the sale of shooters, doubles and laybacks.

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner will clarify that drink marshals can intervene when patrons are behaving unacceptably.

“There was strong support from the broader community for the retention of drink marshals, and this will ensure they have clear guidance on their role in managing anti-social behaviour and protecting both patrons and staff,” Soulio said.

“Importantly, we will also consider the expansion of Responsible Service of Alcohol training to include Bystander Intervention Training.”

AHA|SA also does not believe that the banning of shots after 2am will help curb antisocial behaviour.

“History shows that prohibition doesn’t work. And it simply pushes people to an alternate go-to that’s potentially more dangerous,” stated Moeller.

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner will also seek to re-establish the Adelaide Liquor Accord, bringing together liquor licence holders, SA Police, Health, the Adelaide City Council and other relevant organisations to discuss further issues relating to the Late Night Trading Code of Conduct.

The changes are due to come into effect at the start of November. The proposed amendments to the Late Night Trading Code of Practice, the Outcome report and written submissions received can be found here.

Moeller confirmed that AHA|SA will continue to engage with the Malinauskas Government on changes to the Late-Night Trading Code of Practice.

“We would expect that there’ll be now be a further opportunity for us to engage the Government and the regulator and we’ll certainly be taking that opportunity.”

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