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Changes to licensing fees threaten Canberra nightlife

By KeepCanberraOpen - 12 May 2016 16

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Imagine a Canberra nightlife with no life after 3am.

That’s what members of the Keep Canberra Open group believe will happen if proposed changes to liquor licensing are accepted by Parliament.

In an attempt to curb alcohol-related violence in Canberra, a white paper released last month by ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell (Building on Liquor Reform), details a number of possible solutions including:

  • Stopping alcohol sales in licensed venues after 3am
  • Applying a 300% increase in licensing fees for venues wishing to continue serving until 4am
  • Applying a 300-500% increase in licensing fees for venues wishing to continue serving until 5am

“As late night entertainment venues typically do not begin performances and key trading until midnight, a restriction of 3am will destroy these venues and put an end to music and dancing in the capital.

Late night traders have made it clear that they cannot afford to continue trading with the proposed fee increases or reduced trading hours. If this proposal is accepted, venues will no longer spend money on both local and international performers.”

The white paper states that the increased fees will be used to pay for additional policing in nightlife precincts. It also references ‘Proposal 23’ which would allow licensees to apply for extended trading hours at no cost 4 times per year to cater for special events and performances.

According to studies documented in the paper, a similar reform to licensing laws in Newcastle resulted in a decrease in recorded assaults by 37%.

However Keep Canberra Open spokesperson and event promoter Ryan Sabet says, “Similar restrictive legislation has proven a failure across NSW & Newcastle. Deakin University finds lockouts ‘politically attractive, but completely ineffective’. This is not a solution, we need solutions that help nurture the industry, not destroy it. That’s what Keep Canberra Open is all about.”

The Keep Canberra Open petition currently has over 5800 signatures.

For more information on Keep Canberra Open, visit http://keepcanberraopen.com.au.
For a copy of the white paper, visit justice.act.gov.au.

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16 Responses to
Changes to licensing fees threaten Canberra nightlife
Evilomlap 11:18 am 18 May 16

devils_advocate said :

Would you agree that if someone had had too much to drink that perhaps the establishment they are at should stop serving them?

Depends on the establishment, depends on the drinker. When I was a heavy drinker the only venue that even came close to cutting me off was one bartender who told me to get someone else from my group to come to the bar for the next round so he wouldn’t be seen handing me my fifth or sixth screwdriver in less than an hour. Places almost always continued to serve me long after it must have been obvious I was intoxicated, but because I kept my mouth and fists to myself and I didn’t stagger on the way to the bar, and spent $100’s there, I guess in a ‘risk vs reward’ sense they figured I wasn’t much of a liability.

Years later when I worked security (at a venue that closed at 5am) for the 12 months I was there, liquor licensing inspectors did not visit once. The only guy I ever had to forcibly eject was on ice, he didn’t go to the bar once the whole time I had eyes on him. We would single out people to ‘watch’ but unless someone got absolutely fall-down drunk, they would continue to be served.

gooterz 1:42 am 18 May 16

bringontheevidence said :

joingler said :

Yeah but there is a huge difference between correlation and causation. If there aren’t any clubs open there can’t be violence in clubs. However, you then have to dump everyone on to the sidewalk at the same time, on to a limited taxi rank.

So dumping them on the sidewalk with 4 hours’-worth of boozing compared with dumping them on the sidewalk with 8 hours’-worth of boozing – no difference, in your opinion?

Depends what time they get there?
Anyone who works in a food place wouldn’t finish till 10-11pm and won’t be out in civic before midnight. They wouldn’t even have 4 hours.

If someone plans to be there for 8 hours they’ll probably take their time, talk more and enjoy themselves. If you put a clock on it they’ll race it.

If the clubs close at 3am then everyone will rush drinks at 2am trying to get in before closing.
If there was no closing time until say 4-5am then no one would rush or bother. They’d just leave when they felt like it and it might be before 3.

Nanny states only breed Passive aggressive behaviour.

Would you agree that if someone had had too much to drink that perhaps the establishment they are at should stop serving them?

Also the Taxi’s

HenryBG 8:32 pm 17 May 16

joingler said :

Yeah but there is a huge difference between correlation and causation. If there aren’t any clubs open there can’t be violence in clubs. However, you then have to dump everyone on to the sidewalk at the same time, on to a limited taxi rank.

So dumping them on the sidewalk with 4 hours’-worth of boozing compared with dumping them on the sidewalk with 8 hours’-worth of boozing – no difference, in your opinion?

chewy14 8:17 pm 17 May 16

Lenient said :

madelini said :

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

What was the reduction of people actually in the area or visiting the area during those times?

What was the reduction in business, what was the effect on the economic activity in the area?

You mean what was the reduction in punchy criminals? Quite high, apparently.

And an even higher reduction in non punchy citizens visiting the areas and spending their recreational money, leaving the actual assault rates higher proportionally. A fantastic achievement of removing potential victims and then crowing about the success of their scheme.

I can’t wait til their next scheme of banning cars and dropping the road death toll by >95%!!

gooterz 2:34 pm 17 May 16

Mordd said :

gooterz said :

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

I’ve got a rock that keeps bears away it works really well in Canberra,
I’ll sell it to you for the small price of a thousand dollars?

Your analogy is ridiculous. Lock-out laws are *obviously* well beyond being randomly correlated with violence in Kings Cross.

Yeah but there is a huge difference between correlation and causation. If there aren’t any clubs open there can’t be violence in clubs. However, you then have to dump everyone on to the sidewalk at the same time, on to a limited taxi rank.

It’s beyond me that people have missed that. Maybe Kmart shouldn’t be open 24 hours a day as it will decrease violence

HenryBG 10:51 am 17 May 16

gooterz said :

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

I’ve got a rock that keeps bears away it works really well in Canberra,
I’ll sell it to you for the small price of a thousand dollars?

Your analogy is ridiculous. Lock-out laws are *obviously* well beyond being randomly correlated with violence in Kings Cross.

HenryBG 10:17 am 17 May 16

madelini said :

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

What was the reduction of people actually in the area or visiting the area during those times?

What was the reduction in business, what was the effect on the economic activity in the area?

You mean what was the reduction in punchy criminals? Quite high, apparently.

chewy14 9:33 am 17 May 16

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

What was the reduction of people actually in the area or visiting the area during those times?

What was the reduction in business, what was the effect on the economic activity in the area?

What about the reduction in freedoms and liberties of individuals to make their own decisions and live their own lives?

Sounds like a very selective use of statistics to me, we could of course reduce violence 100% by removing all the people or reduce car accidents by 100% by removing all the cars but I don’t think many would call that a “good result”.

gooterz 11:17 pm 16 May 16

HeighwayQueen said :

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

I’ve got a rock that keeps bears away it works really well in Canberra,
I’ll sell it to you for the small price of a thousand dollars?

Mordd 10:04 pm 16 May 16

Or we could actually fund a decent size Liquor Enforcement Officer team, and actually do random visits on venues like theyre meant to, and curb the excessive service of alcohol that is the actual cause of the problem.

Personally I don’t care if they do bring this in, i don’t go out this late anyway, and drinking water after 3am even if youre staying till 5 is smart anyway, after all that drinking youre better to rehydrate not keep drinking all night long, if you really want to do that go home and keep drinking. But they are right, this will NOT address the problem as its seen, as the real problem is zero enforcement of basic RSA, until we address that we can apply all the bandaids we want and nothing will change.

HenryBG 2:57 pm 16 May 16

Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time speculating and take an evidence-based approach?

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Reasearch found,

“the reforms were associated with an immediate and substantial reduction in assault in Kings Cross (down 32%) and a less immediate but substantial and perhaps ongoing reduction in assault in the Sydney CBD (down 26%).”

How much saved $$$ does this translate to in terms of healthcare and policing?

Sounds like a good result, to me, and seeing as my rates pay for the fall-out, I’m all for lock-out laws.

Evilomlap 10:32 am 16 May 16

“…an attempt to curb alcohol-fuelled violence…”

= alcohol-fuelled violence has less to do with the amount a person drinks, and far more to do with the personality of the person throwing the punch.

“…doing a lot to damage tourism…”

= This is a bit of a stretch. I can’t see a middle-aged couple here to visit the War Memorial and Old Parly House finishing up their trip by kicking on until 5am at Academy with a vodka cruiser in each hand, nor do I think anyone who is serious about clubbing until 5am would come to Canberra to do it.

Forcing venues to stop serving at 3am will only make people drink more before 3am. If I was still clubbing/pubbing on a regular basis, that’s what I’d do. As far as alcohol/violence, I used to regularly put away twice the amount of grog mates twice my size were consuming, and I never hit anyone. I reckon we need to stop seeing alcohol as the root cause of these ‘one punch attacks’. All that does is give weight to the argument these guys often use in court – that they were so intoxicated they didn’t know what they were doing, etc.

gooterz 8:29 pm 12 May 16

When is the earliest they can open again? Can they just close at 1am and reopen at 2am?

This bill panders to those whom would never go out to late night entertainment.

The undeniable facts are that violence would either come from over service of alcohol or people whom have a low mental IQ and predisposed to violence no matter what.

Putting in new bills to “curb” violence mean that the government is failing to apply the RSA laws.
Why aren’t the RSA laws preventing this violence? What use are alcohol laws unless they are enforced.

Instead the knee jerk reaction is to ban things.

Ban cars
Ban carports
Ban taxis
Ban protesting
Ban drinking
Ban smoking
Ban plastic bags
Ban fireworks
Ban consultations

rosscoact 8:13 pm 12 May 16

Yawn. I think you’ll find that nobody, or at least not enough somebodies, really cares.

Bennop 2:01 pm 12 May 16

I am all for using policy and strategy that has evidence to support its effectiveness, so if there is not evidence that this will work, then so be it.

But I also think that it is not a big deal to restrict alcohol sales after 3am. I mean, if you are still on the drink, then you have had a big enough night already! No life after 3am is fine by me.

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