Publican Andrew Jolliffe talks to TheShout about the City of Sydney Council’s proposed changes to the Late Night Trading Development Control Plan (DCP) and the potential consequences for the industry.

“It's my submission that the proposed amendments covered by the Late Night Development Control Plan are, other than patently insidious, yet another layer of bureaucracy and regulation being applied to an already suffocated and beleaguered hospitality industry. The proposed amendments are based on gratuitous assumption and are a direct attack on not only the hospitality industry, but will also have a dramatic effect on many ancillary and related industries like tourism, banking, property, food, security, cleaning, etc.

In summary, this is a dangerous program of intervention which has the very real potential to strip hundreds of millions of dollars out of Sydney's annual economy in a very short period of time; and the downstream impost created by this increased uncertainty will disenfranchise investment into our international city for several years.

Further undermining the veracity of this Council intervention is the fact that there has been no bona fide consultation with the community outside oblique references to Council harvested data, and the ubiquitous request for submissions in respect of the proposed changes.

As a result, we're now seeing a groundswell of objection to the Council's proposal ranging from viral marketing campaigns to direct public objection from key members of the community. People, hospitality industry aligned or otherwise, feel very strongly about this issue, this state manipulation, and are offended by the connotations it promotes. This is a misdiagnosis of community sentiment in the extreme.

Council's strategy is at odds with the great majority of the informed community, and in fact is strangely at odds with its own very deliberate proliferation of alcohol-related enterprises via its small bar strategy. This particular strategy, which has already seen in excess of 40 small bar licenses granted at an entry point cost of $500 will also be negatively impacted by this contradictory strategy.

It is as simple as this, eroding confidence in a sector by implementing rolling 12 month approvals for trading hours only promotes uncertainty. Investors and stakeholders in the subject sector then eschew risk and look elsewhere. It's really as uncontroversial as that. The peculiar thing about the hospitality industry however, is that the myriad tentacles and various manifestations for a range of subliminal stakeholders in the space will have dramatic financial consequences throughout all levels of community. There's a reason Melbourne enjoys the mantle of Australia's most cosmopolitan and vibrant city, hosting several international events Sydney has been historically overlooked for. And this sweeping and overplayed hand by Clover Moore and her colleagues does nothing but further cement and protract this commercial disadvantage we as a city continue to operate under.

The industry and broader community are now on notice that the proposed amendments are very real, as are the consequences of same. Whilst real, the proposed amendments are myopic in that they don't address the guaranteed fall out vis-a-vis anti-prohibition type practices springing up in response, unregulated consumption of alcohol in unlicensed premises and public spaces like parks and beach fronts; and critically, it still makes no attempt to address the issue at the core of the super majority of all alcohol-related disorders, the individual. So in precis, the proposed amendments will target all those in the community with the exception of the individual perpetrators. Redundant.”

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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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