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Looking for a good time

THE Western Australian Tourism Commission may be promoting our vibrant nightlife to potential Rugby World Cup visitors but many entertainment venues may be forced to shut the doors at 10pm on Sunday game days.

Each operator needs to apply individually to have their extended trading permit (ETP) application assessed and either approved or denied by the Liquor Licensing Authority.

And if a recent case in Fremantle is anything to go by it may be a tough battle for proprietors, who will more than likely need the approval of the local authority, police and residents in the immediate area.

The owners of Cheviot Hotel Australia Fremantle, located at the gateway of Fremantle Port, lodged an ETP to allow it to continue Sunday trading from 10pm to midnight, but only when the US Navy ships visit Fremantle.

Among the numerous objectors were residents, The City of Fremantle, the police and the Victoria Quay Apartments and hotel developer (located opposite the Cheviot).

And while the assistant director of liquor licensing found grounds for objection had not been met, he denied the ETP application based on a policy the Director of Liquor Licensing issued last year.

“I must bear in mind the director’s policy regarding EPTs and one-off variations. Sunday trading on long weekends, which provides that an applicant, in lodging an application to trade after 10pm on a Sunday, must provide a declaration that neither the local authority nor the police object to the application and that the residents within the vicinity of the licensed premise have been notified and are fully aware of the application,” the ruling says.

LLA director Hugh Highman said the approval of residents, the local authority and the police was one of many considerations but not a binding decision, when the authority made its decisions.

“We are not bound by that but we are not willing to go against what they say unless they are being unreasonable,” he said.

However, the Cheviot case may mean very few taverns in Perth can operate extended trading hours during October’s Rugby World Cup.

The Western Australian Tourism Commission is promoting a ‘good night out’ via its web site www.rugby.westernaustralia.net, which says visitors can, before or after the game, enjoy Perth’s “vibrant nightlife with plenty of great pubs and bars scattered across the city. Many feature good quality food, live music or the chilled sounds of late night DJs.”

But if applications are not lodged soon, and even if they are, red tape may keep many venues closed. 

Australian Hotels Association executive director Bradley Woods said the AHA wanted the director of liquor licensing to grant ETPs to all taverns except those with a history of problems during the Rugby World Cup.

Mr Woods has advised its members to put in applications as soon as possible.

“Every application will be treated on its merits; it’s a bureaucratic nightmare. It is going to be a problem and we have warned our members to put their applications in immediately so that they can be processed,” he said.

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