By Ian Neubauer
Newcastle hoteliers have vowed to appeal Friday’s decision by the NSW Liquor Board to reduce trading hours in the city, describing the ruling as a “sinister” development that could be rolled out across the state.
“To say we are disappointed is an under-statement,” said licensee of the Crown and Anchor, Eamonn McCabe, of the action initiated by Newcastle Police to curb a rash of alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour attributed to late trading hours.
“None of the hotels named in the proceedings had any charges found against them. There was no evidence provided by the complainants that enabled the magistrate to indicate that any of the hotels had breached… the Liquor Act.
“But despite that, the magistrate ruled a set of draconian measures that have reduced trading hours dramatically in Newcastle and also imposed a curfew,” McCade said.
McCade, who heads the hotelier group Newcastle Alive, vowed to appeal the ruling, describing it as a perversion of due process and justice that was imposed by persons ideologically opposed to the hotel industry.
“If not overturned, the authorities will roll it out across the state. They will seek to close down an entire industry. That is the sinister and dangerous thing for the entire hotel industry of NSW,” he said.
The ruling, which will see the trading hours for premises currently trading to 3:00am and 5:00am cut back by thirty minutes and two hours respectively, will come into effect on March 20.