Home' Australian Hotelier : AH NOVEMBER 2016 Contents 30 | NOVEMBER 2016 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
The Queensland State Government
enacted their own version of
lockout legislation, the Tackling
Amendment Bill, on 30 June this
year. Under the legislation, licensed
premises state-wide are no longer
able to serve alcohol after 2am.
The only exception is made for
designated Safe Night Precincts, such
as Fortitude Valley, Surfers Paradise
and Cairns, which can serve alcohol
until 3am. The legislation also
requires that the sale of shots and
other 'rapid-consumption' alcoholic
drinks be banned after midnight.
Takeaway alcohol sales are also not
permitted after 10pm.
The actual lockout component
of the legislation will not take
effect until 1 February 2017,
when a 1am lockout will be
imposed on all licensed premises.
While many pubs that cater
mainly to families and older
crowds have not been impacted
by the legislation as they
generally don't trade late, other
venues, such as The Caxton in
Brisbane's CBD, are already
feeling the effects.
"As a venue that has held a
5am license to trade for over 15
years, having that taken away
from us is obviously a massive
blow. We immediately lost the
ability to trade for the extra four
hours, every weekend, straight
away," states Alex Farquhar,
general manager of The Caxton.
"It was a point of difference
and an important aspect of our
venue's identity that was stripped
away from us. As a family-
operated business, we tend to
take great pride in running our
hotel and for almost 20 years we
have always followed the letter of
the law and done the right thing,
seemingly to no avail."
Emmanuel Bogiatzis, co-
owner of Heritage Exchange
in Townsville, suggests that
Government has already been
deterring operators from late-
trading for the past five years
or so -- in an effort to decrease
alcohol-related violence -- by
substantially increasing licensing
fees for venues that traded later.
While he notes that these fees
have been recalculated since
the lockout legislation has been
enacted, Bogiatzis suggests that
the decrease of trade combined
with licensing fees have affected
the venue's bottom line.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Both Farquhar and Bogiatzis have had to change their business models or
put strategies into place now, to avoid a significant impact on trade once
the lockouts come into effect next year.
"Obviously it has forced us to re-think our business model and focus
our energies on other parts of the hotel, which to me is disappointing,
especially when I whole-heartedly disagree with the legislation in the
first place," states Farquhar.
"I absolutely support the Government's attempt to stamp out
alcohol-fuelled violence, but totally believe they are slapping
Queensland with a band-aid solution that will not work."
Bogiatzis also believes the legislation will have a dire effect on the
industry, particularly on smaller venues.
"My prediction is that that only a few of the larger venues that can
hold the bigger crowds will survive. The smaller venues will struggle
and more than likely be forced to close even earlier as customer
numbers dwindle after the 1am lock-out is in enforced."
Pubs that attract a younger crowd are also likely to be hit hardest, as
the social habits of younger crowds generally lean towards pre-loading
at home earlier in the night before heading into venues later. If they
have less time available to them within a venue, rather than coming in
earlier, they are more likely to stay home.
Again, while searching for a middle ground, Bogiatzis suggests that
while most venues have now become accustomed to the 2/3am last
drinks policies and the midnight ban in rapid consumption drinks, the
legislation should stop there and not introduce lockouts.
"The majority of late night venues I talk to would be happy to stay
with the current 3am close and no lockout. It seems to be working at
the moment, so why change what's not broken?"
"IT HAS FORCED US TO RE-THINK OUR
BUSINESS MODEL AND FOCUS OUR
ENERGIES ON OTHER PARTS OF THE
HOTEL, WHICH TO ME IS
DISAPPOINTING." ALEX FARQUHAR
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