With recent media rightly focused on covering Australia’s devastating fires, the removal of lockouts from 14 January seems to have gone under the radar. It’s surprising and, to be quite honest, a little unsettling how little discussion has been circulating through social and mainstream media about the potential impact of these changes.
After a big slap down in 2013, the NSW Government has extended an olive branch to the industry by relaxing the lockout laws from January 14. We campaigned for it, we insisted the laws were over the top, now it’s up to us to prove that we can deliver a culture of safety and compliance. They put their trust in us very publicly, we must not betray it.
Palace Hotel in Sydney’s CBD just became the first venue to be granted an exemption to the lockout laws including the service of alcohol, when it was granted permission to host fans for the broadcast of the 3am All Blacks vs Argentina rugby union game.
Working with AusComply and others, Erina pub Sunken Monkey has upgraded its venue to best-practise methodology, including ditching the paper-based register and creating a framework for staff and management. It is now off the violent venues list.
A lobby of roughly 20 Sydney hoteliers and other stakeholders has formed the City Safe proposal - a strategy that will see manifestly compliant venues push for exemptions to lockout legislation. Jason Thomas and Clive Dillen, directors of AusComply, have volunteered to work as the public faces of the City Safe movement.
Research out of NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has confirmed the displacement of violence from Sydney’s ‘locked out’ entertainment zones, further confirming the flaws in the laws. Displacement of alcohol-fuelled violence to precincts around the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross has shown a statistically significant increase – 12 per cent in the immediate surrounds and 17 per cent in some nearby precincts.
A Geelong pub is facing legal action by a patron for failure of duty of care, for injuries she sustained on the premises. It is nearly impossible for public venues to protect patrons from random acts, and such an event would typically fall to a case against the other individual. But Jason Thomas from AusComply says the likely lack of evidence to show the venue’s efforts in this instance could hurt them in Court.
Authorities have put pubs on notice ahead of the pending football finals series, warning of plans to target key compliance-related areas in licensed venues. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) says inspections will focus on intoxication, capacity and under-age breaches, as well as trading hours and responsible service issues.