By Andrew Starke
An experienced New South Wales magistrate who made headlines for imposing onerous restrictions on 14 Newcastle bars has been appointed to the NSW liquor and gaming licensing authority.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and the Arts, George Souris said David Armati has been appointed deputy chair of the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority (CLGCA).
Armati is the former long serving chairperson of the Liquor Administration Board and NSW Licensing Court.
“During his service over more than 17 years, Mr Armati had a strong record in reducing the harm associated with excessive alcohol consumption and problem gambling,” Souris said.
“In fact Mr Armati is well known for his landmark decision to impose strict conditions on 14 late night licensed venues in Newcastle following complaints from police and residents about alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour.
These conditions, which included a lockout, reduced trading hours and alcohol restrictions, have been hailed by police as a success in reducing intoxication and anti-social behaviour although their effectiveness and impact on the hospitality industry have drawn fire from the Australian Hotels Association (AHA).
“The Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority replaced the Liquor Administration Board and NSW Licensing Court in 2008; therefore, Mr Armati already has substantial experience in performing many of these duties,” said Souris.
“The Authority performs key roles under NSW casino, liquor and gaming machine laws including, determining applications for new liquor licences and extended trading hours, as well as gaming machine increases and disciplinary complaints against licensed venues.”
Armati’s replaces former deputy chair, Talal Yassine, whose three-year term expired on June 30.
Souris also announced that Brian Ross has been appointed a part-time member of the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.
“Mr Ross is an experienced business and management consultant and has spent much of his working life in the hospitality industry,” Souris said.
“His experience in the liquor and gaming industries, coupled with his legal, accounting and business skills, will bring a valuable depth of knowledge to the Authority and a strong understanding of the impact of regulatory decisions on industry.”
Armati and Ross will join existing members Chris Sidoti (Chair), Ken Brown, and Sharryn Brownlee who have served on the Authority since its inception.
Their three-year appointments are effective from August 31.