12/12/2006 - 22:00

March liquor change

12/12/2006 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Perth bottle shop owners could have their doors open on Sundays as early as March next year after the Legislative Council last week approved changes to the state’s liquor licensing laws.

March liquor change

Perth bottle shop owners could have their doors open on Sundays as early as March next year after the Legislative Council last week approved changes to the state’s liquor licensing laws.

The changes also include allowing restaurants to sell customers alcoholic drinks without the current requirement to also sell them a substantial meal, and the introduction of a small bar licence aimed at making it easier for smaller venues to open.

Racing and Gaming Minister Mark McGowan said the Liquor and Gaming Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 would be introduced in stages and expected changes to take place during the early half of 2007.

Industry sources have told WA Business News the first change is expected to take place in March, with seven-days-a-week trading for bottle shops likely to be the first component of the new legislation introduced.

Liquor Barons Herdsman proprietor Peter Bradbeer said seven-day trading would allow him to better compete with the supermarket chains.

“We already trade against the major supermarket chains six days a week, and with the growing trend of them buying hotels we were at a disadvantage because they could trade seven days a week,” he said.

Australian Hotels Association public affairs manager Amanda Fuery said she was disappointed by the legislative changes.

“The government could have modernised areas without going to extremes like allowing restaurants to effectively trade as bars,” Ms Fuery told WA Business News.

Nic Trimboli operates up-market Perth restaurant Balthazar under a licence that allows him to serve alcohol without the need for a meal. But when he opened Duende in Leederville several years later, he could not offer his customers the same privilege because of changes to the way liquor licences were granted.

“Duende is a tapas restaurant and it should be the kind of place that you could roll up to for a glass of wine before heading out to the movies,” Mr Trimboli said.

He disagreed that restaurants would become bars, arguing that Balthazar was a food-focused business despite its current ability to serve alcohol without a meal.

Also coming into effect next year will be a Liquor Commission, which will replace the Liquor Licensing Court as a mechanism to resolve disputes.

The new laws also seek to protect the hospitality industry from vexatious residents. Three people will be required to lodge noise concerns, rather than the existing rules that allow one person to complain about a venue’s noise.

The new laws also replace the current obligation on liquor licence applicants to prove a need for new businesses with a public interest test.

Liquor licensing lawyer Dan Mossenson said the change shifted the emphasis away from competing businesses.

“In terms of rejecting or granting a liquor licence application, there is more emphasis on how the licence will affect the community rather than how it will affect the existing licensees in the area,” he said.

But Mr Mossenson said the change in emphasis was unlikely to make getting a new liquor licence easier because many of the current hurdles remained key parts of the application process.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options