AHA NSW calls for the removal of blanket lockout laws
There’s no evidence to support the 1.30am lockout in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross and as such, the measure should be removed, the AHA NSW has said in its submission to the Callinan Review.
AHA NSW’s submission includes a total of 13 recommendations, including a call for the current CBD 3.00am cease service to be replaced with a 3.00am ‘no new patron’ policy following the recent success of this measure in Newtown.
It has also recommended the reversal of the 10.00pm restriction on takeaway sales in both regional and metropolitan areas.
AHA NSW director of liquor and policing John Green said the Association supported evidence-based policies targeted at those doing the wrong thing.
“Two years ago we saw the introduction of a series of blanket measures that unfairly penalise many safe, well-run venues with a proven track record of compliance,” Green said.
“The Liquor Act already has real teeth to deal with rogue operators. The power to cancel or suspend a licence already exists, as does the power to disqualify any person from having an interest in the business.”
Green said both academics and hoteliers have doubts about the effectiveness of lockouts.
“In the absence of evidence proving the lockout measure to be successful, we advocate its removal,” Green said.
The director said locally developed solutions, like the ‘no new patrons’ measure in Newtown, are needed.
“We would like to see initiatives like this one in place in the CBD and Kings Cross,” Green said.
“Crowd numbers are up in Newtown, but violence has remained at low levels. This has been achieved through the local community, including hoteliers, working together on issues in their own area.”
Green said the takeaway liquor legislation was also flawed and change was needed.
“We can’t work out why country and regional pubs have been caught up in this Sydney-centric legislation. The bush pub has been hurt particularly hard by the banning of over the counter takeaway sales after 10.00pm.
“We also can’t understand why the government has banned adults from buying a bottle of wine at 10.01pm to take home or enjoy with a BYO meal.”
Green noted the state government’s own 2013 independent review of the Liquor Act recommended takeaway hours remain at midnight.
“We see the best results when industry, government, the police and the community all work together,” Green said
“The long-term aim must be to bring about cultural change that will render violence, including drunken violence, unacceptable at any level in our society.”