Australia: New “Alcohol Violence” Restrictions Affecting Hundreds Of Premises – Are Your Premises At Risk?

Last Updated: 20 July 2009

Hot on the heels of the freeze on new liquor licenses (reported in our June update - click here to read), last week the Premier announced a new graded range of measures that will be introduced to tackle the problem of alcohol related violence in licensed premises. A list of targeted venues will be published every six months, with as few as eight assaults annually being enough to earn you a place on the list. The new measures will apply to hundreds of licensed premises.

Rather than simply targeting the 50 premises that have the greatest number of reported assaults, the new measures will focus on the raw number of assaults per annum, and a sliding scale of restrictions will apply, depending upon the number of reported assaults recorded against each venue. The sliding scale of restrictions are set out below.

Level 1 (19 or more assaults)

  • 10 minute time out or alternatively, the provision of free water and food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight
  • Cease service 30 minutes prior to closure
  • No glass after 12am
  • 2am lockout
  • No shots, no doubles and no RTDs over 5%, and a limit of four alcoholic drinks per customer per order
  • Extra security measures

Level 2 (12 to 18 assaults)

  • 10 minute time out or alternatively, the provision of free water and food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight
  • Cease service 30 minutes prior to closure
  • No glass after 12am

Level 3 (8 to 11 assaults)

  • Lower risk premises will be given help by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) to strengthen alcohol and security management

The top level restrictions will continue to apply for venues with 19 or more reported assaults each year. The figure of 19 assaults has been conveniently plucked directly from last year's notorious top 50 list, where all premises in the top 50 had 19 or more reported assaults recorded for the year. Five of those premises had just 19 reported assaults. By dropping their figures by just one reported assault, these premises will fall into the level two category on the next list, which will mean that the 2am lockout and shot restrictions should no longer be required.

The 10 minute timeout has been reconsidered, and premises will now be given the option of distributing free drinking water or food to patrons, and actively encouraging the consumption of water during the 10 minute periods instead. This would mean that no cessation of alcohol service is required, as long as free water and/or food is actively pressed upon patrons for 10 minute periods each hour after midnight. This change now applies to the premises currently affected by the restrictions, with a new regulation gazetted on 10 July 2009.

The Premier has indicated that a premises' placement in one of the levels of restrictions will be reviewed every six months, when new data is available from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR). It has been suggested that a revised list will be compiled on 1 December and 1 June each year. Although BOCSAR currently releases this information quarterly (which means that a premises' annual number of reported assaults may fluctuate every three months), the Premier has made it clear that once a premises finds itself on the list, the restrictions will apply for a minimum of six months.

The most recent list was released several weeks ago and covers the period from April 2008 to March 2009. Depending upon when these new restrictions begin to be implemented, we expect that it may be this list that will be relied upon. The list is reproduced at the end of this article.

It should be noted that the list is based purely on incidents reported to BOCSAR by local police commands. Inconsistencies in reporting across police districts, as well as in the reliability of the data itself, make this something of a suspect document to rely upon for the imposition of serious restrictions that may have a punitive effect on these venues. The fact that an assault occurs inside a licensed premises may have nothing to do with the management of the premises. Equally so, it is problematic that a particular venue that reports all incidents to the police , however minor, may be compared to another venue that avoids reporting incidents to the police at all. In this scenario, the increased number of reported incidents by the first venue does not mean it is a more violent venue than the latter – indeed, the opposite may be true.

Based on this list, level 1 and level 2 restrictions will apply to 91 premises. Those premises with 11 reported assaults should be wary, as just one more assault could push them into level 2 restrictions.

In order to capture level 3 premises (those premises with eight or more but less than 11 assaults) the list will need to be greatly expanded and will capture hundreds of premises. The good news for level 3 venues is that no automatic restrictions are proposed at this stage, their operations will simply be reviewed by OLGR and they may be required to strengthen their alcohol and security management measures.

The fate of the 48 premises that are currently specifically listed in the Liquor Act as "declared premises" is somewhat uncertain. In order for these premises to be integrated into the new three tiered level of restrictions, an amendment to the Liquor Act will be required to remove their names. As the Act currently stands, the highest level of restrictions will continue to apply to these premises regardless of how many assaults are reported for each venue. As these restrictions have now been in place at these premises for more than six months, it would seem unfair to deny these premises the opportunity for a six month review, when this is a key component of the new system.

How the new restrictions will be implemented is yet to be revealed. Theoretically, it could be achieved within the confines of the existing system, as the Casino Liquor and Gaming Control Authority, as well as the Director of Liquor Gaming and Racing, currently have the power to impose such conditions. However, these bodies are required to provide the licensee with notice of any proposed licence variation and must provide the licensee with a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in relation to that variation. There is also some limited scope of appeal.

The Premier has previously subverted this process by altering licence conditions by way of legislative amendment that had the effect of avoiding any requirement for procedural fairness, and preventing any legal challenge.

Operators should keep a close eye on developments and consider whether there is any ability to be heard in relation to restrictions proposed to be imposed on their licences.

The List

Licensed Premises Name

Postcode

Number of Assault incidents

Rank^

Penrith Rugby League Club Limited

2750

48

1

Mean Fiddler

2155

38

2

Glasshouse Tavern

2500

37

3

Star City Pty Limited

2009

31

4

Stonewall Hotel

2010

29

5

Steyne Hotel

2095

28

6

Victoria Hotel

2650

27

7

Albion Hotel

2150

26

8

Queens Wharf Brewery Hotel

2300

26

8

AKA Nightclub Bar

2232

25

10

Northies - Cronulla Hotel

2230

25

10

The Colombian Hotel

2010

25

10

Central Coast Leagues Club Limited

2250

24

13

Collingwood Hotel

2170

24

13

Flamingos Nitespot

2580

24

13

Coogee Bay Hotel

2034

23

16

Fanny's of Newcastle

2300

23

16

Castle Hill RSL Club Limited

2154

22

18

Central Hotel

2340

22

18

Exchange Hotel

2010

22

18

First Empire Hotel

2011

22

18

Roxy Hotel

2150

22

18

Standard Hotel

2800

22

18

Commercial Hotel

2830

21

24

Embassy Hotel

2750

21

24

Epping Hotel

2121

21

24

Imperial Hotel

2340

21

24

Towradgi Beach Hotel

2518

21

24

Club Marconi Of Bossley Park Social Recreation

2176

20

29

PJ Gallagher's Irish Pub

2150

20

29

Royal Hotel

2800

20

29

Vegas Hotel

2011

20

29

Club 209

2560

19

33

Club House Hotel

2320

19

33

Oxford Hotel

2010

19

33

The Bended Elbow

2640

19

33

The Valley Brewery

2320

19

33

Warners Bay Hotel

2282

19

33

Altitude Nightclub

2444

18

39

Arq Sydney

2010

18

39

Pontoon Bar

2000

18

39

The Woodport Inn

2250

18

39

Royal Hotel Bowral

2576

17

43

Terrigal Hotel

2260

17

43

The Oxford Bathurst

2795

17

43

White Bull Hotel

2350

17

43

2230 Restaurant And Bar

2230

16

47

Bristol Arms Retro Tavern

2000

16

47

Cambridge Hotel

2302

16

47

Capital Nightclub

2650

16

47

Cheeky Monkeys Bar & Restaurant

2481

16

47

Collaroy Beach Hotel

2097

16

47

Illawarra Hotel

2500

16

47

Mona Vale Hotel

2103

16

47

Orient Hotel

2000

16

47

The Gaff Restaurant, Bar & Nightclub

2010

16

47

The Griffith Hotel Motel

2680

16

47

Unity Hall Hotel

2041

16

47

Beachcomber Resort And Conference Centre

2263

15

59

Belmore Hotel

2320

15

59

Carmen's

2228

15

59

Coffs Harbour Hotel

2450

15

59

Court House Hotel

2010

15

59

Down Under

2444

15

59

Great Northern Hotel

2300

15

59

Greenwood Hotel

2060

15

59

Lowenbrau Keller Hotel

2000

15

59

Roi Bar

2640

15

59

Rooty Hill RSL Club Limited

2766

15

59

Waratah Hotel

2850

15

59

Wollongong Castros

2500

15

59

Wyong Rugby League Club Limited

2259

15

59

Beach Road Hotel

2026

14

73

Churchill's Sports Bar

2032

14

73

Harp Hotel

2500

14

73

Ivory

2500

14

73

Ivy

2000

14

73

Regal Hotel

2380

14

73

Scruffy Murphy's

2000

14

73

Tea Gardens Hotel

2022

14

73

The Beaumont Exchange Hotel

2303

14

73

The Old Manly Boat Shed

2095

14

73

Toongabbie Hotel

2146

14

73

Archer Resort & Convention Centre

2541

13

84

Bay View Hotel

2536

13

84

Campbelltown Catholic Club Limited

2560

13

84

Establishment Hotel

2000

13

84

New Brighton Hotel

2095

13

84

New England Hotel

2350

13

84

St Kilda Hotel

2350

13

84

Bank Hotel

2323

12

91

Bondi Hotel

2026

12

91

Cargo Bar

2000

12

91

Casino Returned Servicemens Memorial Club Limited

2470

12

91

Ettalong Beach War Memorial Club Limited

2257

12

91

Home Hotel

2650

12

91

Home Nightclub

2000

12

91

Hotel Cremorne

2090

12

91

Kent Hotel

2303

12

91

Mingara Recreation Club Limited

2261

12

91

North Wollongong Hotel

2500

12

91

Palm Court Hotel

2518

12

91

Pastoral Hotel

2830

12

91

Piccadilly Hotel

2011

12

91

Plantation Hotel

2450

12

91

Sydney Junction Hotel

2303

12

91

The Bourbon

2011

12

91

The Eastern

2022

12

91

The Standard Hotel & Lounge Bar

2480

12

91

Bayview Tavern Hotel

2111

11

110

Crows Nest Hotel

2065

11

110

Dragonfly

2011

11

110

Grand Hotel

2259

11

110

Great Eastern Hotel

2594

11

110

Hamilton Station Hotel

2296

11

110

Hillside Hotel

2154

11

110

Jacksons On George

2000

11

110

Mary Gilhooley's Irish Pub & Restaurant

2480

11

110

Moulin Rouge Downunder

2011

11

110

Rosehill Racecourse

2142

11

110

Shark Hotel

2000

11

110

St Georges Basin Country Club Limited

2540

11

110

St Marys District Band Club Limited

2760

11

110

St Marys RSL & Ex Servicemens Club Limited

2760

11

110

The Beach Hotel

2481

11

110

The Grand Hotel

2500

11

110

The Ranch

2122

11

110

The World Bar

2011

11

110

Union Hotel

2250

11

110

Victoria Hotel

2400

11

110

Woy Woy & District Rugby League Football Club Limited

2256

11

110

For more information, please contact:

Sydney

Anthony Whealy

t (02) 9931 4867

e awhealy@nsw.gadens.com.au

Christina Renner

t (02) 9931 4701

e crenner@nsw.gadens.com.au

Melbourne

Andrew Denehy

t (03) 9612 8217

e adenehy@vic.gadens.com.au

Natalie Bannister

t (03) 9252 2507

e nbannister@vic.gadens.com.au

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