By James Atkinson
South Australian pubs are concerned about tough new late night trading conditions that would apply to venues state-wide.
The Draft Late Night Trading Code of Practice is the second tranche of reforms proposed for SA liquor licences. It is set to follow the introduction next week (January 18) of the General Code of Practice, which was approved by Cabinet last year.
Australian Hotels Association (SA) general manager Ian Horne told TheShout most publicans feel "pretty comfortable" with the general code.
It includes requirements to provide free cool drinking water to patrons, bans "gender-based" drinks promotions like ladies nights, and sets out the responsibility of venues to protect patrons from drink spiking.
"It's a formalising of what many pubs have already been doing, there's been a voluntary code in since place the late 1990s," Horne said.
"It now becomes mandatory so it effectively has the same power as being a condition of your licence."
But he said the late night code proposes very severe measures including statewide lockouts at 3am, mandatory metal detection on 200-plus capacity venues, as well as requirements relating to non-breakable drinkware and CCTV.
"Unfortunately what's being proposed is just a statewide blanket, it fails to look at specific needs of specific areas," said Horne.
"What would apply in Hindley street, which is the equivalent of Sydney's Kings Cross, would also apply in Ceduna on the far west coast," he said.
"If a venue or an area is complying or not causing a problem, why should they have to comply with what are potentially very draconian restrictions, some of which are very difficult or expensive to comply with?"
Horne said the AHA (SA) anticipates a final discussion paper on the late night code to be released in early February.