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Sensible changes to liquor licensing?

By johnboy - 28 September 2009 13


Image: Civic after midnight on New Year’s Eve

The ABC brings word of plans by Simon Corbell to quiet Civic down in the small hours of the morning.

    As part of the overhaul, licence fees would rise significantly and would be linked to the risk venues pose to public safety.

    Attorney-General Simon Corbell says the changes focus on venues that trade into the early hours of the morning.

    Premises trading past midnight would pay more and be slugged again if they stay open past 2:00am and 4:00am.

Apparently the extra fees (which seem like a good balance) will also pay for dedicated policing of responsible drinking.

Due to the powerful stakeholder interests the plan is to consult on this before debating legislation mid next year.

Planned changes to liquor licensing

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13 Responses to
Sensible changes to liquor licensing?
j from the block 10:43 am 29 Sep 09

I would suggest more policing and more fines handed out for breaches of the act. You can be open after 12 and not be serving drunks.
The 18 year olds who turn up and drink 8 standard drinks as soon as they arrive somewhere could do that a 3pm / 7pm / 9pm or 2 am.
I would love to say it is all their responsibility (the drinkers), but our society passes this on to the bartenders, and it is up to them to decide on the inebriation of the individual.
Its not hard to do this well, and is pretty much common sense for any decent bartender ; if you continue to serve someone when they are too drunk, it gets messy. They throw up, the bartenders have to either clean it, or at least get someone too. They get violent, safety of staff and punters becomes an issue. They become lecherous, and obnoxious, and ruin the nights of the people coming out for a good time, and the bartenders get less tips, or get harrassed.

I should add, are you intoxicated after one drink, sure, can you still be served, sure, can you drink from 1pm to 10pm and still be served, are in you control of yourself? sure (if this is you, I would suggest counselling, or to check and see if you are in my family).
An RSA course is not enough (I should know, I taught them for a few years), on the job trainiong with a decent lead bartender will teach you more in 3 hours than any course. See it, see how you deal with drunks, learn the signs, learn the tricks.
If people serve drunks just for the dollars and continue to flaunt the laws, the should get fined.

Clown Killer 9:35 am 29 Sep 09

I’m with Special G on the issue of getting licensed venues to accept some responsibility. If they’re happy enough to take peoples money in breach of the RSA codes then there should be some consequences.

As far as the smaller places like the Phoenix are concerned, I guess that they’ll weigh up the risks and the benefits – do the returns gained from liquor sales to people who are not intoxicated after midnight (allowing them to comply with RSA requirements)exceed the extra costs associated with licensing?

hax 8:33 am 29 Sep 09

Special G said :

Start making clubs actually responisble for the punters they fill full of liquor would be a great improvement.

Why not make violent people responsible for their actions?

If someone is out for a fight or just an aggressive a**hole it doesn’t matter what time of night or how many drinks they’ve consumed.
They could try actually punishing the handful of f***wads..

or curfew everyone to their homes by 8pm – that would curb late night violence too!

Special G 6:40 am 29 Sep 09

Start making clubs actually responisble for the punters they fill full of liquor would be a great improvement.

I agree that later opening hours should come at a greater cost although it should also come with greater measures to ensure responsible service of alcohol and patron safety. This goes hand in hand with rsa compliance checks.

Most violence contrary to popular belief doesn’t happen when everyone spills out onto the streets at the same time. Plenty does but most people have gone home by then. A bit earlier when there are more people about who are just as pissed and looking for a biff.

2-5 is jungle hour.

Bobbi 10:46 pm 28 Sep 09

It could also cause the Phoenix bar, Trinity bar, The Potbelly, The Basement bar and a lot of other small bars I haven’t thought of to close earlier because the cost of staying open past midnight isn’t worth it. It would also take away the opportunity to find a small bar for quiet post gig drinks that I have never had finding in other cities like Melbourne or Berlin that I struggle to find in Canberra on a good night.

bd84 9:54 pm 28 Sep 09

The majority of violence occurs after the drunks leave the clubs/pubs when masses of people spill out onto the pavement and generally into each other. Waiting 2 hours for a taxi.. people get angry and punch ups begin. Closing the clubs earlier will probably make people start drinking earlier, just shifting the problem. This is unlikely to solve the problem.

busgirl 7:05 pm 28 Sep 09

Dante said :

Why do earlier closing times equal less violence? Sure you’ve got less people in the city, but should we be restricting people’s lives to the stage where we’re controlling when people can enjoy themselves or not? What about people that aren’t able to attend these venues until later in the night due to work committments?

Surely if it was about keeping people safe, offenders in Canberra would receive more than a slap on the wrist for their part in drunken behaviour and there would be a reasonable police presence in the city area during the late nights/early mornings.

But hey, if you want to keep that sleepy country town mentality, so be it.

I’m not disagreeing with what you’ve said Dante…but back in the olden days when I used to work late night shifts, if I wanted to go out on any given night then I would have to organise the night off work (a shift swap – whatever) so I could attend that said venue during the hours when everyone else was there…

…and this time frame that people speak of ‘late night/early morning’ where it is said that it would be appreciated if there was more police presence…don’t you think the ones who are exhibiting the drunk and disorderly behaviour are more likely to be those who are still up from the night before rather than those who have gotten up early the next morning? It’s not rocket science…

An early closing time makes sense to me…

Dante 2:48 pm 28 Sep 09

Why do earlier closing times equal less violence? Sure you’ve got less people in the city, but should we be restricting people’s lives to the stage where we’re controlling when people can enjoy themselves or not? What about people that aren’t able to attend these venues until later in the night due to work committments?

Surely if it was about keeping people safe, offenders in Canberra would receive more than a slap on the wrist for their part in drunken behaviour and there would be a reasonable police presence in the city area during the late nights/early mornings.

But hey, if you want to keep that sleepy country town mentality, so be it.

stonedwookie 2:16 pm 28 Sep 09

sounds like typical mafia style communist government tactics!
Give us our cut or we will shut you down.
if this was really about keeping people safe from alcohol they would enforce earlier closing times.

Dante 11:49 am 28 Sep 09

There’s an entire ‘underground’ (and I hate that term) community of electronic dance music DJ’s and punters that will be unfairly affected by these changes. Many of these would not attend larger venues such as Academy based on a seemingly populist music policy and clientele.

The few smaller venues that support this scene would be punished by this policy, as dance music events DO go later in the night. For a venue to support these types of events, they’d be hit with increased licencing costs which is not so easy to absorb for a smaller venue like The Front or Transit Bar. We’ve already seen Toast get treated unfairly by the liquor board… Do Canberrans really want to continue squeezing self expression out of this city?

Recent history would suggest so.

dvaey 11:36 am 28 Sep 09

Will this affect bars and clubs outside the city, such as Vikings, Southern Cross Club, or the Labor Club? After all, most of the big pokie clubs are often open past midnight, sometimes as late as 4 or 5am.

johnboy 11:16 am 28 Sep 09

I think the point is that the small hours of the morning night life is rarely adding much to the cultural life of the city while adding significantly to robberies, serious assaults, and sometimes manslaughter.

What this would do is let businesses willing to mount major security operations to keep on trucking, moving the drunks into more and more supervised spaces.

You’ll still be able to party to the small hours of the morning, you’ll just have to go to academy.

In a lot of big cities the smaller bars close down around midnight and the hard core have to move to the bigger joints (or think that maybe it really is time to go home).

harvyk1 10:54 am 28 Sep 09

Does civic require being quietening down in the wee hours? OK, yes there can be problems from time to time, but compared with other cities (of which many I have been to) I don’t think we have a problem at all.

Canberra’s night life is already non-existant, personally what I want to see is the law get tougher on those few who do cause trouble. But then again in Canberra we all know what the chances of that happening is…

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