By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

The NSW Office of Liquor & Gaming has fined Byron Bay’s Aquarius Backpackers for breaches of licensing conditions and initiatives of the local liquor accord.

OLGR inspectors visited the venue on two occasions in April of this year and successfully ordered drinks without being questioned about staying in the hotel or ordering food – both requirements of the budget accommodation’s liquor licence.

The Byron Bay Liquor Accord is also currently undergoing a six-month trial to reduce alcohol-related harm in the town, which includes a ban on the serving of ‘shots’.

Testing the accord compliance, which had been agreed to by Schneider, the OLGR inspectors were able to purchase two shots of tequila in a glass containing ice cubes and water with lemon and told "you can shoot that".

Aquarius Backpackers manager Christopher Schneider challenged the citations, but was convicted and sentenced to an eighteen-month good behaviour bond and fined $7,000 in Ballina Local Court.

OLGR Director of Compliance Paul Newson said it is crucial that all licensees observe the requirements of their licence to ensure business is conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner, and to protect the community from alcohol-related harm.

“This is particularly important in venues like Aquarius Backpackers that attract many young people, and in communities like Byron Bay which are working to control alcohol-related problems,” Mr Newson said.

“The fact that Aquarius Backpackers not only breached the requirements of its licence but also the trial liquor accord terms it agreed to uphold in writing, demonstrated a poor compliance culture and  lack of serious commitment to helping reduce alcohol-related harm in Byron Bay.”

The Shout Team

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

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