ClubsACT Rejects Call for Blanket 3am Trading Hour Restriction

ClubsACT has flatly rejected calls for the imposition of a blanket trading hour restriction to 3am describing the call as a “lazy and unsophisticated approach to a complex public policy issue”.

“The calls for blanket 1am lockouts and 3am closures is a simplistic, cookie-cutter approach that takes no account of the prevailing circumstances in the ACT.

“Many of my members open till 4am to service their shift-worker members or taxi drivers who use the facilities of the club at that time. Winding back the trading hours of these venues would in no way represent a sensible policy decision. Canberra has a number of different liquor license categories for a very good reason. A member-based licensed club with strict sign-in rules is very different from a nightclub, particularly at 4am”.

According to the Office of Regulatory Services, there are currently 56 venues that operate beyond 3am. 22 of those are licensed clubs that close at 4am. There are 2 nightclub licensees that close at 4am with 6 others closing at 5am.  There are 14 other on-premise venues that close at 4am with 4 others that close at 3am.

“It is disappointing that the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) have not considered the different types of venues that operate in the ACT and that each license category has significantly different risk profiles with respect to alcohol related incidents.

“What is more concerning however, is that the data used by NAAPA is out of date and overlooks the fact that alcohol related crime in the ACT has fallen and in the Attorney-General’s own words since the introduction of the new Act, have been on a sustained downward trend.  The club industry has worked hard to ensure it has been implemented effectively whilst bearing the most expensive club liquor licence regime in the country.

“A sensible, fact-based debate about the role of alcohol in Australia is a good thing.  That debate will not be well-served by organisations such as NAAPA and FARE adopting an ‘us and them’ approach or by presenting only half the picture to support their case.

ClubsACT was not invited to attend the launch of NAAPA, participate in their report or was consulted in any way regarding the formation of NAAPA or their policy objectives. For the record, had such an invitation been issued, it would have been accepted.

“Solutions to complex problems like these only come when everyone works together to achieve what should be mutual objectives.  Alcohol is part of the fabric of Australia’s social life, our mutual aim shouldn’t be to simply reduce its use, but to encourage Australians to use it responsibly.

“While we have an issue to deal with in this country about the misuse and abuse of alcohol.  We also, I believe, have an issue to deal with in this country regarding violence, thuggery, lack of respect for others and a total disregard of the consequences of individuals’ own actions.  Alcohol is only one part of the equation when it comes to alcohol related violence”,  Mr House concluded.

Ends//1 August 2013

Media Contact:
Jeff House
Chief Executive ClubsACT
0406 376 761