30/04/2009 - 00:00

Liquor reform on agenda

30/04/2009 - 00:00

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THE recent launch of the Small Bar Association of WA is another signal of the big changes taking place in Perth's hospitality industry.

THE recent launch of the Small Bar Association of WA is another signal of the big changes taking place in Perth's hospitality industry.

Reflecting on his 40 years of involvement with liquor licensing legal work, association founder and Lavan Legal chairman of partners, Dan Mossenson, said recent major reforms to the Liquor Licensing Act and the launch of the association had been the greatest leaps forward in the sector.

"I've been conscious of changes in the drinking scene in the state over the decades and obviously have observed how the changes in the law have resulted in opportunities for the public to make use of licensed premises," he said.

"With the alteration to the legislation a couple of years ago, and the intention of creating a reform package that would develop an environment in WA where there was a more sophisticated hospitality environment and more civilised drinking, it's become obvious that it's going to be a slow process.

"With the various obstructions, complications, red tape, bureaucracy that I encounter in the course of my legal work on behalf of people trying to get liquor licences or trying to alter licences, it occurred to me that I might be able to do something by forming this association to speed up the process and to help facilitate the change in the drinking scene."

Canton Lounge Bar co-owner Sonia Brooks said the launch of the lobby group was a win for small bar owners who had lacked representation in the past.

"It can be a very complicated process getting a liquor licence, especially dealing with councils so I think it's really good that we get some awareness out there about what's going on at the moment," she said.

Mr Mossenson said to date, 18 small bar licences had been granted in Perth, seven were pending approval, and more prospective applications were being lodged.

In 2005, the state government launched an inquiry to review the operations of the Liquor Licensing Act, under the chairmanship of Jim Freemantle.

Mr Mossenson said two major reforms which were introduced were the new small bar licence and greater flexibility for restaurants to be able to supply liquor without a meal.

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