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‘Lockout’ will hit nightclubs

THE committee reviewing liquor licensing in WA recommends many valuable reforms that are welcomed by the nightclub industry, but there are two crucial recommendations pertaining to ‘lockouts’ and early closures that will decimate our industry and have negative consequences for the community.Under the proposed recommendations, Perth is destined to maintain its title as a sleepy backwater, with the proposed ‘lockout’ prohibiting anyone from entering a nightclub after 3am. After 3am, Burswood Casino will have an absolute monopoly as the only licensed venue legally allowed to grant entry.Every weekend at 3am the streets will be flooded with people refused entry to nightclubs, this will have severe consequences for the police, the taxi industry, public transport services, property owners and the greater community, who will be forced to endure the resulting mayhem.The cabaret industry is not against regulation and is more than happy to make to make economic sacrifices to protect the welfare of the community. What we are vigorously opposed to is one sector of the hospitality industry being heavily regulated and penalised while other, more powerful, sectors such as the AHA and casino interests are given carte blanche by virtue of their lobbying power.Hotels, taverns and special facility licenses constitute 94 per cent of the licenses marketing decanted liquor in this state (exempting restaurants), while the cabaret/nightclub fraternity constitutes 6 per cent of the licenses marketing decanted liquor (exempting restaurants) in WA.Given these figures, why does the Liquor Licensing Review propose regulation for the cabaret lobby but not other license categories that dominate the market. This discrepancy demands scrutiny. Surely those who market the great majority of liquor in WA should bear some responsibility for their impact on the community.I understand the Government wants the final recom-mendations to become law within 12 months, so the legislation will un-doubtedly be on the agenda in the near future.The recommended changes will alter the landscape of the hospitality industry and Perth entertainment precincts forever. Peter Palmer Geisha Bar Northbridge

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