Home' Australian Hotelier : AH NOVEMBER 2016 Contents 28 | NOVEMBER 2016 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
T here's no doubt that Sydney's nightlife
has taken a hit from the lockout
legislation -- just take a look at the
latest guerrilla marketing campaign
from Melbourne's Chapel Street Precinct.
Posters with an image of NSW Premier Mike
Baird were plastered throughout Sydney's CBD
recently, with the slogan 'Play till it's my bed-
time, not Mike Baird time.'
Much to the chagrin of Sydney
pub operators, Chapel Street Precinct
Association's marketing and events director,
Chrissie Maus, said that the campaign was
to make fun of Sydney's 'draconian' laws and
suggest an alternative in Melbourne.
"We've got nothing against Premier Mike
Baird. We're simply treating Sydneysiders
as responsible adults. If you are fed-up with
NSW's draconian entertainment laws that
have killed off the once vibrant precincts
Oxford Street and Kings Cross, there is an
alternative to shop, play and stay."
The real source of tension, of course, lays
between NSW Government and hoteliers,
which has not been eased by the much-
awaited Callinan Review findings. The
review suggested that the 10pm restriction on
take-away packaged alcohol sales be moved
to 11pm, and that the 1:30am lock-outs
and 3am last drinks in the Sydney Central
Entertainment precincts be each extended by
30 minutes for live entertainment venues.
The general consensus among operators is that
the concessions are token at best, with John Green
AHA NSW's director of liquor and policing,
expressing the Association's disappointment.
"The recommendation to return one of the
two hours removed from take-away sales is a
step in the right direction, but we are still at
a loss to understand why it was wound back
state-wide in the first place."
Green stated that AHA NSW was
also disappointed there had been no
recommendation to remove the blanket
1:30am lockout measures.
"We don't support blanket measures that
unfairly penalise many safe, well-run venues with
a proven track record of compliance." Green said.
Fergus Taylor, executive director of Alcohol
Beverages Australia, also gave Callinan's
findings a mixed review.
"Recommendations to reduce the
restrictions on takeaway and home delivery
are positive, but keeping blanket measures
like 1:30am lockout laws in place will punish
responsible drinkers and venues for the
violent crimes of a small minority."
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
The main critique of the Callinan Review
findings is that it does not recommend any
alternatives in its findings. Surely a middle
ground would appease both sides, or at least
offer a cool détente between the Government
and the nightlife industries. This lack of
compromise has been criticised by Jason
Thomas, executive director of AusComply.
"Probably the most disappointing theme
throughout this review is the just-suck-it-up-
and-adapt attitude in the assessments and
findings. Several times throughout the body of
the report the author questions the markets'
willingness to adapt and change,"
With the chances of the lockout legislation
being repealed completely at almost zero, surely
some give and take from both sides is necessary.
Recently, Justin Hemmes, CEO of Merivale,
one of Sydney's biggest hospitality groups,
agreed with the Callinan findings that the
lockouts should be pushed back to 2am, but
suggested that 4am would be a better time to
call last drinks.
Other hoteliers may suggest otherwise,
and Thomas believes that this is where the
Government should show that they are
willing to compromise by putting together a
panel going forward with industry leaders.
"Our challenge now to the Government,
in response to this review, is to hand the
process over to a panel of entrepreneurs,
thought leaders and innovators in the
industry to develop viable alternatives to the
current oppressive restrictions of the precinct
legislation," suggested Thomas.
"Surely as the intent of the legislation
suggests, the answer lies in a flexible
and practical regulatory system that can
encourage and promote self-governance
by venues, and marketing and advertising
-- similar to that of the 1970s/80s seatbelt
and drink-driving campaigns -- that can be
implemented to influence or change
SEARCHING FOR MIDDLE GROUND
WITH LOCKOUT LEGISLATION DIVIDING STATE GOVERNMENTS AND THE PUB INDUSTRIES IN
NEW SOUTH WALES AND QUEENSLAND, SEARCHING FOR CONCESSIONS ON BOTH ENDS OF THE
SPECTRUM MAY BE THE ONLY WAY FORWARD.
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