14 April 2023

'We were negligent': Assembly shuts doors for 24 hours after repeatedly breaching liquor licence

| Claire Fenwicke
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Assembly in Braddon

Assembly will not operate for 24 hours after being given consent orders for breaching the Liquor Act. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Assembly has shut its doors today (14 April) after its liquor licence was suspended for 24 hours.

It follows occupational discipline action in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) for breaching sections of the Liquor Act 2010 and Regulation 2010.

The venue tacked a sign on its front doors saying “closed today, back tomorrow!” and posted an apology on its Instagram.

It did not dispute the allegations of 13 instances of non-compliance.

“In our three and a half years of existence, it’s been a pretty crazy roller coaster,” the sign stated.

“We were negligent in obeying rules placed on us and we have breached the ACT Liquor Act.

“For that we are sorry and due to these indiscretions we will be closed today, 14 April 2023.”

The public apology was part of the conditions imposed for breaching the acts.

“We will be taking this opportunity to have our, very belated, Christmas party,” its sign read.

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The Commissioner for Fair Trading filed an action in the civil court for Occupational Discipline for “alleged multiple contraventions” of both acts following visits by Access Canberra compliance officers on 7 December 2022.

The contraventions included failing to: comply with their licence conditions, applying the venue’s Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP) and reporting incidents as required under the Liquor Act.

While the matter was resolved without a hearing, ACAT has issued consent orders on the venue.

These include a public reprimand, a $9,000 fine and a temporary licence suspension for 24 hours meaning Assembly cannot supply or sell liquor on Friday, 14 April.

The licensee’s liquor licence will also be amended with conditions regarding written reports about incidents at the venue, and their external doors and windows will all have to be shut by 10 o’clock each night.

All new and existing staff will have to be retrained to understand the licensee’s obligations under the legislation.

Assembly apology

Assembly posted an apology and notice on its front doors. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Fair Trading and Compliance executive branch manager Josh Rynehart said this was a timely reminder for all licenced venues in the ACT that they needed to abide by the legislation which allowed them to operate and keep the community safe.

“A venue’s Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP) seeks to minimise the harm associated with the sale of liquor and supports community safety. Licensees must follow their RAMP as it sets out how a licensee will manage their venue and the risks connected with the supply of liquor,” he said.

“Access Canberra inspectors and ACT Policing will continue to be out and about to ensure licensees understand and are complying with their obligations under the Liquor Act.”

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I’ve got an RSA certificate and so have been trained but over the years I’ve talked to bar tenders and going by the way they talk, they don’t seem to care if a customer is underage or intoxicated, they’ll still serve the customer. I think these liquor licence breeches happen more often than people realise.

A greedy business and its owners thinking they can flout laws, contravene licence conditions and put the safety of their staff and patrons at risk. Not only that, staff have to undertake retraining due to insufficient guidance and the business owners’ greed. 13 instances of non-compliance and fined a measly $9,000 and ordered to close for a day. And their response? Tacking a sign on their front door feigning ignorance, asking for understanding and loyalty and apologising for their non-compliance.
Sadly the owners won’t be named and shamed. Patrons remain flippant and the party rolls on!

You don’t sound biased at all.

Finagen_Freeman2:11 pm 14 Apr 23

Feel sorry for the locals that have endured repeated breaches by this pub. Not community minded.

typical Canberra attitude. buy or rent a property near a club/pub etc, then complain about the noise from bands or djs.

“buy or rent a property near a club/pub etc, then complain about the noise from bands or djs.”
How do you know the breaches were noise related?
Surely if that were the case, then the same complaints (from NIMBYs) would have been levelled at the Civic Pub and Hopscotch? … which are virtually next door and across the road and also have a “vibrant clientele”.
There is mention of “occupational discipline” and “non-compliance with the Liquor Act” in their apology on Insta … and the sign on their door mentions “We were negligent in obeying rules placed on us …”
Perhaps you are jumping to biased conclusions?

Actually you are correct that the complaints were noise (and unsociable behaviour) of patrons – however, that’s where your veracity ends.
As per this comment from a local resident (reported in a CT article on the matter) “… when he moved into Mort Street several years before Assembly was established, he was told a residential apartment was being built in its location.”

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