May 1, 2018

Newcastle Herald: Liquor authority says Newcastle licensing restrictions to stay after Horton review

THE Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority says it is considering “only minimal changes” to Newcastle’s late-night trading restrictions, after the Horton Report recommended leaving closing hours and the lockout laws where they were.

The Australian Hotels Association, which called last year for the review of the 2008 trading laws, said it was disappointed that Newcastle would still be subject to a “one size fits all” licensing regime.

“A decade on, ILGA is considering continuing with one-size-fits-all blanket measures, rather than accepting Dr Jonathan Horton’s view that venues that demonstrate good practices and that pose a lower risk ought to enjoy less restrictive conditions than those which do not,” AHA Newcastle/Hunter president Rolly De With said.

Community campaigner Tony Brown, one of the main voices opposed to the AHA, welcomed the liquor authority’s decision, saying it had come as a surprise.

But he cautioned that it was only an interim decision: the authority would give licensees 21 days to respond before making its final decision.

He said Dr Horton’s “venue-by-venue” recommendation would “provide extra ammunition” for those who supported extending trading hours.

“Dr Horton says he supports the existing regime, but by encouraging venues to apply for license variations one at a time, he is leaving the door open to dismantling the uniform conditions in a death of a thousand cuts,” Mr Brown said.

Read the full story here.