By Andrew Starke
Specialist liquor lawyer Grant Cusack has welcomed the Government’s changes to its ‘Three Strikes’ legislation.
An amended Bill has passed through the Legislative Assembly and will soon go to the Upper House.
In particular, Cusack welcomed the following changes:
- Recording strikes only for proven offences, not just for police allegations
- Deleting the provisons for automatic licence cancellation on a third strike and possible six-month suspension on a second strike
- Not recording a strike if a Court finds an offence proven, but the Court does not convict
- Taking action against a licence only where it is reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of further offences
- Giving a right of appeal to the Authority/ADT and providing for a stay of any action pending appeal
- Providing for a searchable register of strikes, so that landlords, incoming purchasers and banks will know of a venue’s strike status.
“These are welcome improvements to the scheme” said Cusack, who had previously been critical of the initial Bill tabled in Parliament.
However, he told TheShout that he still has some remaining concerns.
“First, this system will greatly encourage venue operators to challenge many more penalty notices in Court,” he said.
“Simply paying a penalty notice might result in a strike, which could have severely disproportionate impacts on a hotel and its value.
“Second, I would like to see an automatic reset of a hotel’s strike status if a hotel landlord takes back possession of his hotel property from a tenant who has caused strikes.
“I don’t see why mum and dad hotel investors should be punished if they have acted to remove a bad operator and protect their hotel investment.
“I hope the Upper House can amend the law in this way.
“On the whole, however, it is a much improved package.
“I congratulate the AHA on its successful lobbying efforts and I commend the Government for listening to the industry’s valid concerns with the initial Bill.”