By Ian Neubauer

A growing number of voices are calling for a national policy of early morning lockouts for all licensed premises to address concerns about alcohol-related violence.

On Friday, a meeting of Federal, State and Territory ministers in Melbourne agreed to present the proposal in an interim report to the Council of Australian Government in July, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In South Australia, the ‘anti-pokie’ Family First Party has said it wants a 3:00am lockout for Adelaide’s CBD, the ABC reported. The party will next week introduce a bill to Parliament proposing a 12-month trial, with MP Dennis Hood claiming the curfew will stop young people from drinking early into the morning.       

Early morning lockouts requiring licensed premises to refuse entry or re-entry to patrons after 2:00am are already in place in the cities of Newcastle and Bendigo. Police and health officials in these areas are claiming curfews have reduced alcohol-related violence, while premises licensed to trade until 3:00am have said the curfew is sending them broke.  

However, calls for lockouts are also emanating from within the industry. In Sydney, a number of high-profile venues including the Coogee Bay Hotel, Scruffy Murphy’s and The Steyne Hotel have implemented voluntary lockouts.

TheShout received a barrage of e-mails over the weekend commending NSW liquor retailer, Peter Fox, who on Friday penned an editorial calling for a return to midnight closing hours.

“I’m all in favour of [a] midnight or 1:00am close for all pubs and clubs,” said Mike Nasser, who owns a Queensland hotel licensed to trade until 2:00am on Friday and Saturday.

“I fully support Peter Fox’s comments and believe opening hours are one of the major issues facing our industry,” said CellarMaintenance general manager – QLD, Paul LeCarpentier.

But the AHA said today a national curfew was not the solution, suggesting issues associated with late-night trading need to be considered on a case-by-case basis that target violence-plagued ‘hot-spots’ popular with youths.

“This decision recognises a ‘one size fits all’ approach across the country is impractical and will not solve what is a community-wide issue,” said AHA chief executive, Bill Healey.

The first big test for lockouts begins next week, when 2:00am lockouts come into effect for a three-month trial period at a number of central Melbourne municipalities, including the CBD.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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