Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents 80 SCOOP AUTUMN 2010
behaviour and alcohol-fuelled violence in North-
bridge and around suburban pubs are not helping.
Police and public health officials have been calling
for more restrictions on liquor licences.
The Director of Liquor Licensing, Barry
Sargeant, is very clear in his message in the guide
to liquor licensing published by the Department of
Racing Gaming and Liquor.
"The sale of liquor to the public is not an
automatic right . . . only suitable members of the
public are granted the appropriate licence. The ir-
responsible promotion, supply or consumption of
alcohol can cause significant harm in the commu-
nity which is why people involved in the sale and
supply of liquor must uphold harm-minimisation
principles and practise the responsible service of
And while Minister for Racing and Gaming
Terry Waldron says the Barnett Government is
dedicated to providing a balance between safety,
variety for patrons and business opportunity for
industry members, many believe the pendulum is
swinging a little too far in one direction.
"It s just gone to the other extreme, incorporat-
ing concerns from the health department and the
BARTENDERS: (clockwise from right)
Jim and Patrick Ryan; Soda Sunlounge,
The Empyrean Function Centre.
mise any annoyance or disturbance their license
The police and the Executive Director of Public
Health also keep an eye on all applications made
for liquor licences and will lodge objections if they
believe they are not in the public interest or will
cause harm to people.
James Ryan s application for the Empyrean
function centre was rejected last July after the
police objected to the licence application on the
basis of the problems in Northbridge. Mr Sargeant
ruled that even a relatively small risk of an increase
in harm was unacceptable.
But James says he was trying to offer an alternative
to the typical Northbridge venue, aimed squarely at
corporate clients. While he could not get a licence,
people who hired the centre could BYO drinks.
"Then there are no controls at all on that, there
is no responsible service of alcohol," says Patrick.
police about the harmful side of liquor consump-
tion and over-consumption," says Dan.
Tourism WA chief (and tavern owner) Kate
Lamont makes the same point:
"They (licensing authorities and local govern-
ments) are taking a glass half-empty approach,
rather than glass half-full approach. The rules are
for the one to two percent of people who do the
wrong thing, rather than facilitating the enjoy-
ment of the 99 percent of people who do the right
thing," she says.
To get a liquor licence, all applicants must com-
plete a comprehensive public interest assessment
taking into account the potential harm that may
be caused to people in the area and such things
as the social health indicators, crime statistics and
alcohol-related hospital admissions for an area.
They must show that they have strategies in place
to counter these potential problems and to mini-
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