NEWCASTLE LICENSED VENUES LATE-NIGHT TRADING
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER:
On 14 June Dr John Kaye asked me a question in relation to Newcastle licensed venues late-night trading.
Dr John Kaye:
And you gave me a bollocking for it.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER:
I apologise to the honourable member for misinterpreting the context in which that question was asked. It was a legitimate question and I have indicated to the member privately, and now publicly, my apologies for that. For completeness and transparency the answer to this question addresses both the Newcastle central business district and the adjoining Hamilton area. In relation to the Newcastle central business district, the former Liquor Administration Board imposed conditions on the licences of 14 Newcastle central business district hotels in March 2008. That decision imposed a 1.00 a.m. lockout on the affected premises and a closing time of no later than 3.00 a.m., with the sale and supply of alcohol ceasing 30 minutes prior to closing. Several of the venues appealed against the Liquor Administration Board decision, resulting in a 1.30 a.m. lockout and a closing time for several of the venues of 3.30 a.m.
I am advised that there is no record of any of the hotels affected by the 2008 decision lodging an application with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to vary or revoke conditions related to the lockout or trading hours. An application that might be made by any of the affected hotels to change those conditions or any other condition on its licence will be considered by the authority on its merits, in accordance with the procedures set out in the Liquor Act 2007. This includes a community consultation process.
In relation to the adjoining suburb of Hamilton, on 27 March 2012 the authority determined to impose conditions on the licences of six late-trading hotels. These conditions included a 1.00 a.m. lockout on Friday and Saturday nights with the sale and supply of alcohol ceasing 30 minutes prior to closing. This arrangement substantially continued the operation of conditions that were first imposed on those hotels on a temporary basis in 2010 following complaints made by police and a local resident. At the request of the legal adviser for one of the affected Hamilton hotels the authority has since prepared a detailed statement of reasons for its decision. That statement is expected to be published shortly. That hotelier separately wrote to the Government expressing concern about the authority's decision.
The Minister referred it to the authority and a detailed response has since been provided to the hotelier. I am advised that none of the hotels affected by the authority's March 2012 decision has since lodged an application to the authority to vary or revoke the conditions. As is the case with Newcastle central business district hotels, any application that might be made by any of the affected Hamilton hotels to change those conditions or any other condition on their licences will be considered by the authority on its merits in accordance with the procedures set out in the Liquor Act. This includes a community consultation process. Further, it is the Government's position that any further representations on these issues are to be referred to the authority to be dealt with in accordance with the relevant Act and at arm's length from Government. I thank the honourable member for his patience in relation to this.