By James Atkinson

The Australian Hotels Association (WA) and the Liquor Stores Association (WA) have condemned a recommendation of the state’s Liquor Control Act review that would impose higher licence fees on a venue or outlet based on its licensed area.

The review released this week recommends that where a pub, liquor store, nightclub or casino has a licensed area that is greater than a prescribed size of 200 square metres, it would be considered to be a higher risk venue and a licence fee surcharge of $10 per square metre would be payable by the operator.

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods declared the surcharge a “Hospitality Venue Tax (HVT)” that would effectively be paid by patrons to fund health and anti-alcohol lobby groups.

“The policy recommendation labels hotel, tavern and special facility licenses as high risk venues, most of which are clearly not, and proposes a new HVT charged per square metre,” he said.

“High risk venues should only be those with a continuous record of breaches of the law.”

“This is an unfair tax on well-run, professional venues and historic country pubs,” Woods said.

LSA WA CEO Lindsay James told TheShout the proposal “gives no indication of the likely revenue to be raised and no doubt the ramifications of this will send many outlets to the wall”.

“This obviously hasn’t been considered nor modelled,” he said.

James said WA liquor stores are also strongly opposed to the recommendation for controlled purchase operations, which would clearly involve entrapment of licensees.

“The Premier and Minister have previously indicated that this will not happen and we will be following up with them,” he said.

“Rightfully the Minister has indicated that these are ‘recommendations’ that will be addressed with ‘stakeholders’ prior to the Government making any decisions,” James said.

The Shout Team

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

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