By Andy Young
The Caxton Hotel in Brisbane is hopeful that it might yet still be able to obtain a trading hours extension for this year’s State of Origin rugby league match.
The pub was originally told that it would be rejected for a trading extension to 5am because the sporting event, was not “culturally significant”.
The Courier-Mail reported an email from a licensing manager at the Office of Liquor and Gaming to The Caxton's management said: “One of the new restrictions on consideration of an (extended hours permit) is that, if the event is considered to be a ‘special occasion’, the (permit) will only be considered during the time the occasion is occurring and a reasonable time before and after the special occasion.
“As games at Suncorp would not still be going at 3am, I don’t consider that would be sufficient basis for consideration of approval to trade between 3am and 5am.”
Reaction to that decision was swift, with Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, saying: “This is the most significant event we have in this state every year. You’ve only got to feel the fever out there on the street to understand that.”
Our Nightlife Queensland spokesperson, Nick Braban, added: “The Government is squibbing this, we have bureaucrats deciding what is culturally significant for Queenslanders, but communities make that decision and we need to fix this problem now.”
Following reaction to the decision, Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palazczuk saying that she “couldn’t see why” the extension could not be granted adding that Attorney-General Yvette D’ath would be writing to The Caxton, asking it to reapply for the licence.
Earlier this year the Queensland Government abandoned its 1am lockout policy, with the USE of ID scanners in safe night precincts coming in instead from 1 July.
Venues in Queensland’s 15 safe night precincts are permitted to serve alcohol until 3am, which is one hour longer than other venues. The state also has one-off permits for venues to serve past 3am, with six allowed per year and the criteria around when they are allowed to use has also been tightened up.
The Caxton’s General Manager Alex Farquhar said that he was happy to work with authorities to create a safe environment, adding that he didn’t think it was safe putting a large amount of people on the streets at 3am, after such a large night.