The NSW Labor Party, led by Chris Minns, has won the NSW state election that was held on Saturday 25 March. Industry associations and operators have reacted to the news, telling TheShout how they hope the new government will work in tandem with the liquor industry.

The overarching response from the liquor sector is one of optimism, with many operators from different parts of the industry expressing optimism and a hope that the new Labor Government will work hand-in-hand with industry to further its prospects within New South Wales.

“AHA NSW congratulates the incoming Minns Government and looks forward to working with them,” stated CEO John Whelan.

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) congratulated the new government, and noted the work it has already begun with NSW Labor party on issues important to its membership base.

“ABA and its members have a close working relationship with the incoming Government due to policy work done during Labor’s time in Opposition and looks forward to that continuing via a productive relationship in Office,” commented Adele Young, ABA’s executive director.

“An essential part of the lifestyle and economy of NSW, ABA  members  welcome the continuing opportunity to work with the new Government as a key stakeholder in issues affecting our industry and community.”

Flower Hotels managing director, Alistair Flower, also noted the collaborative efforts of the Minns campaign to work with the hospitality industry.

“Chris Minns and the Labor campaign has been impressive. In particular Labor’s collaborative approach with industry on issues that are related and affect our industry. We all have the same purpose and we can guide our way through it together. That’s important.”

Areas for collaboration and support

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) highlighted the opportunity for Labor to focus on the late-night economy as a key pillar of its strategy moving forward.

“The Night Time Industries Association congratulates the Minns Labor Government on its victory,” stated CEO Mick Gibb.

“We look forward to working constructively with all parties and independents to create a night time economy that is resilient, robust and diverse.

“There is an enormous opportunity for the night time economy to become an even more integral part of our state. We will continue to advocate on the matters that impact our members.”

President of the Independent Bars Association (IBA), Karl Schlothauer, also congratulated the incoming Minns premiership, and urged the new state government to continue the work done by its predecessor.

“The Liberal Government had recognised the importance that small bars have played in the night-time economy, and in the past four years we’ve received many great things for our members, but there’s still plenty to do,” Schlothauer said.

“We look forward to working with the Labor Government to address the challenges that lie ahead of us, such as: the cost of doing business – in particular, the rising costs of insurance; reducing red tape; and getting more live music into small venues.”

Schlothauer, who is also CEO of the House of Pocket hospitality group and Vice President of the YCK Laneways Association, called upon the incoming administration to boost the powers of the 24 Hour Economy Commissioner.

“It’s been great to have direct access to a government office for the independent bars and we’d also urge Labor to come good on their election promise of making that Commissioner a more permanent position and expanding its remit.”

James Thorpe, CEO of Odd Culture Group, also highlighted the opportunity to boost the live music prospects within the state.

“While we are disappointed that more aggressive gaming reform won’t be undertaken in this term of government, we are excited at the renewal and fresh perspective a new government brings, and enthusiastic to see the effect of the generous investment in live music promised by the incoming Labor government.”

Thorpe elaborated: “Live music is in dire straits in NSW at the moment, with just 133 registered venues in the state. We need to see real investment in this space. Obviously, much of the damage that has been done here has been caused by successive coalition state governments over the past 12 years, so we hope this fresh start is enough to defibrillate the industry back into life again.”

Thorpe also advocated for “real action” on gambling harm across the state.

Within alcohol production, Australian Grape & Wine has congratulated the NSW Labor Party, and looks forward to working with the Minns Government.

“Our approach to working with any Government is always to seek to collaborate wherever we can, referring back to the data and evidence, and our approach in NSW will be no different. We’ll be seeking to build relationships, in collaboration with NSW Wine, to make sure the new Government understands the significant contribution NSW grape growers and winemakers make to the economy, employment and prosperity in regional communities,” stated CEO Lee McLean.

McLean identified a “very challenging” supply-demand imbalance as a major issue facing Australian wineries, largely driven by China’s imposition of import duties on Australian wine. This scenario has led to very high inventory levels (particularly for red wine) and placed significant downward pressure on demand for grapes, driving down prices and reducing intake.

“Our sector is looking for coordinated co-investment between industry and all levels of government to help grow demand for Australian wine at home and abroad, to better diversify our export footprint.”

With 14 seats still to be called at time of publication, whether Labor will hold a majority or minority government is yet to be determined.

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