By Andrew Starke
The NSW Government has relaxed its hard line on ‘violent’ pubs with larger venues now able to avoid many of its more onerous restrictions.
A ‘commonsense’ approach will see each bar, restaurant or function area within a large pub or club treated as a separate entity that can exempted rather than being lumped together and tarred with the same brush.
In practice this may mean that the nightclub within a large club may be banned from serving beverages in glass while its other bars can continue as normal.
NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Kevin Greene, told TheShout that the changes were “part of the NSW Government’s commonsense approach to reducing intoxication and alcohol-related violence in and around high-risk late trading pubs and clubs.”
Under the scheme announced by the Premier in July, the list of licensed venues subject to special conditions is reviewed twice a year using updated NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) assault data.
However, publicans will now be given the opportunity to argue their case and show police exactly what strategies they have implemented to limit the number of assaults at their venue.
Licensees will have the opportunity to provide their venue safety plan and show cause as to why they should not be subject to special conditions on the basis that an assault incident has been wrongly recorded as occurring on their premises.
“Police will, on request, meet with licensees and provide the details of assault incidents,” said Greene. “If a licensee and police agree that an incident has been incorrectly recorded against a venue, the record will be amended accordingly.”
“As part of our legislation, venues have the ability to seek exemption for part of their premises,” he continued. “Exemptions apply to low-risk areas such as restaurants and function rooms and applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.”
“Consideration is also given to strategies the venue is prepared to implement to reduce the risk of alcohol-related violence.”
Greene said the latest BOCSAR data shows a reduction in assaults at the top 48 venues which reflects well on the efforts of many pubs and clubs to improve safety and security.
“The data shows the conditions themselves have been effective in reducing alcohol-related problems,” he said.