Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Labor News

WA Labor launches new wave of liquor reforms

Labor Statement

A McGowan Government will further reform WA's liquor laws to provide for safer venues and cut red tape for restaurants and bars, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said today.

Mr McGowan said under WA Labor, restaurants will be able to serve liquor without a meal and patrons will be able to walk between tables carrying a drink.

Restaurants that take advantage of these reforms will have to comply with conditions, including: 

  • Keep a kitchen with a full menu operating at all times;
  • Only serve liquor during the period up to midnight on weekdays and 10pm on Sundays;
  • Keep its seating and furniture in its ordinary location.

"Unlike WA Labor's plans, the Liberal Party's reforms have no restrictions on restaurants under 120 patrons serving liquor at any time," Mr McGowan said.

"Under Mr Barnett's written policy, restaurants with less than 120 seats will be able to serve liquor around the clock."

Mr McGowan said the Carpenter and Gallop Labor Governments' small bar reforms changed the face WA's entertainment scene and the time had come for further reform.

"WA Labor supports a safer, more sophisticated drinking culture in Western Australia and our new wave of reforms will enhance our hospitality environment," he said.

"There is a small section of our population causing trouble at selected venues, and strong evidence suggests a small amount of licensed venues are responsible for a big number of alcohol-related incidents, particularly assaults.

"The ability of the Director of Liquor Licensing (DLL) to apply targeted sanctions to such venues needs to be strengthened.

"It should also be recognised that many large venues have a good record in relation to anti-social behaviour and those venues also seek ways to improve the service they provide."

A McGowan Government's new wave of liquor licensing reforms include: 

  • Slashing licence fees from $3,100 to $500;
  • Allowing for parallel processing of applications by local government and the Department to speed up approval times;
  • Ensure that restaurants can sell liquor without a meal and that patrons do not have to be seated to drink liquor without a meal, subject to a range of conditions;
  • Remove the restrictions on al fresco service for licensed premises;
  • Developing a State Planning Policy for small bars and al fresco areas to speed approvals;
  • Creating a new category called Micro Bars with a maximum capacity of 60 patrons;
  • Increasing the capacity of the DLL to close or suspend the licence of premises that frequently breach regulations including 'stop trading' orders where significant violent actions occur; and
  • Introduce legislation to establish a Banned Drinking Register, modelled on legislation introduced in the Northern Territory in 2011.

"We will also remove restrictions on al fresco service, especially where the al fresco area includes part of a footpath as for some inner-city venues," he said.

"The Gallop and Carpenter Governments' reforms created a safer, more sophisticated drinking culture in Western Australia.

"The next wave of reforms will create a safer drinking environment while creating more jobs."

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