Liquor Licensing

25 May 2010 questionsarchive

Question put forward to 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 for the City of Adelaide) regarding liquor licensing in the city.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:35): I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs a question about liquor licensing in the city.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I understand that the state government is undertaking a review of liquor licensing in the city. In the publications that have been printed thus far, the commentary has focused on the Hindley Street precinct. I understand also that the Adelaide City Council will be reviewing its own liquor licensing policy later this year.

I have been in contact with two of the precinct associations for Grote Street and Gouger Street traders, who have called publicly for a 3am curfew in their area, given that they believe that it has more of a focus on residential and family markets, with significant residential housing located adjacent. I have also been contacted—as has the new member for Adelaide, Rachel Sanderson—by local residents, who are very greatly concerned with the number of venues seeking to increase their hours of operation to 5am every day of the week.

I have a copy of the Government Gazette of 4 March, which has published a notice under the Liquor Licensing Act advising that Lyrics on Gouger (formerly known as the Buddha Bar) has been seeking an increase in its hours of operation. I note that this particular facility backs onto residential properties, located on Market and Coglin streets.

The Hon. P. Holloway interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: It is a different precinct—you should listen. My questions are: has the minister had any representations to her office—

The Hon. P. Holloway interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The honourable minister will listen in silence.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —relating to those two precincts, that is, Gouger and Grote, for the benefit of the Leader of the Government? What is the minister's view on this particular facility seeking to increase its hours of operation, and when will her review be complete and tabled for the local precincts to make comment?

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 for the City of Adelaide) (14:38): I thank the honourable member for her important questions. Indeed, the government made an announcement late last year that it was committed to conducting a review involving strategies to address alcohol fuelled violence, in particular, in our entertainment precincts. We said at the time that, No. 1, we would consult and that we would consider a wide range of different strategies.

At the time, we put on the table increasing the powers of police to close venues down in certain serious circumstances and increasing the powers of the liquor commissioner to be able to put liquor licensing conditions in place more quickly than the current system allows for; currently, it is a very cumbersome system. We said that we would look at trading hours and at a wide range of other initiatives, such as the alcohol content of drinks, the number of drinks that can be sold to any one consumer at a particular time, and the rounded-bottom structure of drinking vessels, which means that people are not able to put the drink down and have to keep it in their hand.

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I am just saying that we put everything we could think of on the table for consultation. If the honourable member has other suggestions, I certainly encourage her to participate throughout the consultation period. An initial round of discussions has occurred in identifying these types of issues with the police and other major industry stakeholders. We have collected a range of different views that we are now incorporating into a discussion paper. A considerable amount of work has already been completed on that discussion paper. It is currently being finessed and will be released shortly. It will go out for broad public consultation; for instance, we anticipate that it will be made publicly available online so that all members of the public will have ready access to comment on it and put their views forward. As I said, I encourage and invite all honourable members to do that. That review is currently taking place and the discussion paper should be released fairly soon.

In terms of the Adelaide City Council, the Capital Cities Committee has a security committee (a subcommittee of the Capital Cities Committee), which is also focused on looking at security issues within the Adelaide City Council generally. The government, police and other industry stakeholders are also involved in those considerations.

In terms of trading hours, we put that firmly on the table when we announced the review. I remind honourable members that there are a number of licence holders who have 24-hour licences and do not currently use them. These licences are not used to their full capacity. It is a matter for those licence holders to determine the most suitable hours for them in terms of their businesses operating in the current context.

In relation to any licence holder wanting to change the conditions of their licence in some way—as the honourable member was suggesting in the case she put forward involving an extension to licensing hours—a process is undertaken through the commissioner and/or the Licensing Court to consider that. Stakeholders have an opportunity to have input into that process, and police in particular have an opportunity to put forward their recommendations or point of view. If, for instance, they have concerns about the prospect of that particular licence being extended, they are able to put them forward. I think it is open to the general community but certainly relevant stakeholders are able to do that. This is a process that is in place and is currently the mechanism available to amend licensing hours.

As I said, we have already clearly indicated that we will be reviewing licensing hours. We are keen to listen to and hear from a wide cross-section of stakeholders before landing on a particular prescribed set of hours. We have indicated quite clearly that that is on the table for review and we look forward to seeing that discussion paper released very soon.