By James Atkinson
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione’s claim that the trading restrictions imposed in Newcastle did not negatively impact the city’s hoteliers is an insult to the industry, according to the Australian Hotels Association NSW.
Scipione was in Newcastle on Tuesday, spruiking the success of the measures imposed on 14 licensed premises in the city, which included a 1am lockout and 3am closing time, along with various other restrictions.
”Going into this the Australian Hotels Association expressed strong concerns around loss of jobs… loss of trade and the potential for hotels to close,” Scipione told the Newcastle Business Club.
“This concern hasn’t been borne out in reality.”
AHA NSW Director of Policing John Green told TheShout that independent figures confirm more than 20 per cent of Newcastle hotel workers lost their jobs as a result of the measures.
“Within two years, nine of the 14 hotels with restrictions closed, had forced sales or were placed in receivership. These are the facts,” he said.
“There’s no doubt Commissioner Scipione knows how to be selective about the statistics he uses. His views on alcohol are well known so this speech is hardly surprising.”
“But to claim that jobs have not been lost, trade has not declined and hotels have not closed is simply wrong and insulting.”
Green said Scipione also chose not to mention that two years after the measures were introduced, assaults in and around licensed premises in Newcastle shot back up, increasing by 21 per cent on the 2009 figure.
“What is perhaps most galling, is that the Commissioner fails to acknowledge that assault figures in and around licensed premises have dropped even further in areas like Wollongong, Gosford, Wagga Wagga and Bathurst due to licensees and the community working together on local issues – and without the harsh measures imposed in Newcastle,” he said.
“If he wants to get a balanced view of Newcastle, perhaps the Commissioner should speak to the law-abiding hoteliers who lost their entire mortgage, superannuation and businesses for no other reason than the introduction of these measures.”