By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

South Australia’s controversial Late Night Code has survived a Supreme Court challenge by a group of venue owners, with the judgement ruling that the provisions were valid.  

Attorney-General John Rau welcomed the court's ruling. He said the new regime had resulted in 25 per cent fewer arrests for public drunkenness and a 29 per cent reduction in alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The South Australian government has committed to a review of the Code later this year, giving venue operators and other stakeholders the opportunity to voice ongoing concerns. 

The SA court decision comes amid speculation that Sydney venues may be considering a similar challenge.

Hospitality specialist lawyer David Sylvester told TheShout there are distinct barriers to such a challenge in NSW as success based on an error in the legislation is unlikely and the immense costs associated with such actions may be prohibitive for venues “already bleeding profusely”. 

“I would expect that the issue to be determined would relate to whether the laws infringe the constitutional rights of business owners or others affected by the laws,” the Sylvester & Browne Solicitors principal said.

“The Government has continually shrugged off arguments from critics of the legislation regarding the significant commercial effects and costs of the lock-outs.”

SA’s Late Night Code is somewhat less restrictive than those in place in NSW, preventing patron ingress from 3am rather than 1.30am. It does however give authorities greater powers to ban drink promotions and restrict the use of glassware. 

The Shout Team

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

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