Monday 30 December, 2013
A recent increase in liquor licence approvals were overwhelmingly bottle shops and on premises licences such as restaurants and cafes, not hotels and clubs, Minister for Hospitality, George Souris, explained today.
"Of the 770 approvals in 2013, which has been highlighted by the media, 649 licences were for either ‘on premises’ (470) or bottle shops (179). ‘On premises’ simply means establishments such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and bowling alleys – businesses where liquor is ancillary to the main service," Mr Souris said.
He also pointed out that only 2 registered clubs were approved for liquor licences and 21 hotel licences which includes general/small bars.
Mr Souris also rejected calls for blanket restrictions based on the (so called) ‘Newcastle model’ to be imposed compulsorily on licensed venues across the State.
"I reaffirm the Government’s commitment to tailored solutions to address specific alcohol-related problems in local communities which have achieved significant success in reducing violence.
"The recent independent review of the liquor laws advocates tailored solutions as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ response. The Government continues to consider the 91 recommendations of the liquor law review by independent reviewer Michael Foggo and will respond in the next few months.
"Significant powers already exist under the Liquor Act to impose restrictions on irresponsible licensed venues including lockouts, bans on shots and glass, and ceasing alcohol service prior to closing," Mr Souris said.
"The Government supports to use of these powers on a case by case basis to address specific alcohol problems caused by irresponsible venues and not blanket measures that punish responsible licensees and patrons.
"Other local communities have achieved significant reductions in alcohol-related violence using tailored measures – not by adopting the Newcastle model.
"While there was a 26 per cent reduction in violent incidents in Newcastle’s licensed premises between 2008 and 2012, there was a 28 per cent reduction State-wide over the same period.
"During this period there were greater reductions in violent incidents for other parts of NSW according the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) – without the Newcastle conditions.
"For example, a 38 per cent reduction in violent incidents on licensed premises was recorded for Campbelltown, a 36 per cent reduction for Gosford and a 40 per reduction for Penrith.
"The Government has also achieved significant reductions in violence with a range of tailored measures for Kings Cross. According to BOCSAR, since the NSW Government’s first phase of measures came into effect in December 2012 until 30 June 2013, there has been a 25.5 per cent reduction in violent incidents on licensed premises in Kings Cross.
"This challenges the claim that Newcastle style restrictions are the only pathway to achieving real reductions in alcohol-related violence.
"This Government looks at each precinct individually and it has achieved a significant drop in violent incidents across the State.
"Between 2008 and 2012 there has been significant reductions in violent incidents on licensed premises (-28%); alcohol-related assaults on police (-35%); alcohol-related domestic assaults (-12%); alcohol-related non-domestic assaults (-28%); and hospital emergency department attendance rates for acute alcohol problems (-9%)."
"Applications for new liquor licences are determined by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority – an independent statutory body – not the Government," he said.
"Applications are assessed very closely and a wide range of issues taken into consideration including the number of licensed venues in the local area, alcohol-related crime statistics, the social profile of the local community and submissions from councils, police, local residents and government departments.
"A liquor licence application cannot be approved unless development consent has been granted by the local council (where required).
"The Authority cannot approve a new liquor licence unless it is satisfied that the overall social impact of the proposed outlet will not be detrimental to the well-being of the local or broader community. It has shown its willingness to refuse liquor licence applications in communities more susceptible to alcohol-related harm.
"In addition the Government has also extended a freeze on new liquor licences in the Kings Cross and Oxford St/Darlinghurst precincts until 2015.
"This Government takes the problems related to alcohol very seriously and will continue to take strong and decisive action," he said.