Glassware, Shatterproof

29 Oct 2009 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question about shatterproof plastic glasses.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In July this year the city nightclub HQ replaced all its glassware with shatterproof polycarbonate containers. That was a voluntary decision by the owner of that nightclub who had witnessed a glassing incident in Melbourne and did not wish to have that happen in his nightclub. The Liquor and Gambling Commission was reported as saying that, while it is not mandatory for any pubs or clubs to use plastic glasses, anything which makes the club safer is a good thing. Has the minister had an opportunity to review this policy and does she intend introducing legislation to make it mandatory in pubs and clubs?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:26): Indeed, we are always looking at the problems that occur within the industry and monitor those and, where ever possible, try to formulate strategies to address those problems. Members can see that we have done a great deal. To date, for instance, the power to bar is a very good example of that, as well as laws to deal with nuisance and offensive patrons.

The previous legislation was not working well. Licensees did not feel able to avail themselves of that legislation, so we got some feedback about that and changed the law so that police could quite easily on the spot remove offensive and disorderly patrons from licensed premises; and we extended that to areas and wider regions for various periods of time depending on the offence. We have also looked at introducing metal detectors at some venues that have been found to be problematic. We looked at introducing metal detectors so that patrons had to go through a detector before entering premises. I understand that those venues took that up in a voluntary way but, certainly, we did look at the prospect of making that a condition of their licence. I just cannot recall whether we needed to go down that path or whether the premises involved took it up voluntarily, anyway. Nevertheless, it was our engaging that part of the sector that enabled some of those protective practices to be put in place. They are just a couple of examples.

I read somewhere that changes had been made to glasses in interstate venues. I was aware that HQ had made some changes, too, and I congratulate it for taking that initiative. I requested some time ago when we put our minds to this whether that was an issue here in South Australia given some of the reports that I had seen from other states. I did ask whether it was an issue here. I asked that I be given some feedback about the prevalence of broken glass either in terms of injury or being used as a weapon.

From recollection, the feedback was that there was a fairly minimal number of adverse events involving glass in our venues here in South Australia. I am pleased that we are not like some other states where it seems that some of these practices become fashionable almost, and behaviours can change quite quickly.

Nevertheless, here in South Australia the feedback was that minimal events had occurred. At that time our position was to encourage those venues that assessed a need in their premises to change to plastic. I have asked the agency to continue to monitor events and, if there are any changes or it does appear that we have to take further action, I am certainly willing to do that.