Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (16:17): I rise to support the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019. Basically, most of the amendments are technical in nature and they are principally in support of the recommendations arising from the Anderson liquor licensing review. The final stage of the liquor review act is to commence on 18 November this year, with all but one of the amendments commencing at the same time.

The key aspects in the detail of the bill include to reflect omitted portions of Mr Anderson's recommendations in respect of on-premises licences, namely, that liquor is able to be sold to a resident of the licensed premises for consumption on or off the premises and to confer power on the commissioner to refuse a name change for licensed premises, for example, in circumstances where a name may be misleading or offensive.

There is currently no such power, and this amendment was requested by the commissioner. It also requires a licensee to inform the commissioner of any changes to their contact details and to provide for fines and expiation fees on breach of codes of conduct to reflect the level of potential risk and significance of the breach. There are currently no penalties for a breach.

The bill also permits the imposition of annual fees for short-term licences and the amendment of provisions relating to the amalgamation of licensed clubs with respect to gaming machine licences. Currently, when clubs amalgamate, their gaming machine licences are forfeited. The bill clarifies the provisions relating to the display of copies of liquor licences on the licensed premises, including that a copy be readily visible to members of the public and is up to date.

It enables records of liquor transactions to be kept out of the state, for example, in servers located interstate. It enables the prescribed person to require production of proof of age only where the prescribed person reasonably suspects that the other person is a minor, which was the position that existed prior to 24 September 2018 when section 115 removed this as a precondition.

Currently, that clause operates to empower a prescribed person to require another person to produce evidence of their age if the other person is on, about to enter or in the vicinity of licensed premises, or is or has recently been in possession of liquor. The commissioner considers this power as excessive, and no concerns were raised about reverting to the status quo during the consultation process.

Part of the legislation is also about providing for a streamlined process whereby interstate licensed liquor retailers can obtain a licence in this state. It also confers on the commissioner and the Licensing Court the ability to exempt the licensee from a mandatory condition or rule that applies to a licence, other than conditions imposed under section 42 of the Liquor Licensing Act, and the power to remove these exemptions. Examples may include the general requirement to have a responsible person on the premises or to allow for minors. He currently does not have this power.

The bill also enables licensees to simply notify the commissioner if the licensee has reduced the number of trading hours or the capacity of the premises or no longer trades under endorsements previously applicable to the licence, as opposed to submitting a formal application to the commissioner for approval.

The bill clarifies and changes the provision to enable authorised licensees to deliver alcohol between 8am and 10pm, as opposed to dispatching and delivering between 8am and 9pm. This change was suggested during consultation with Retail Drinks Australia. Feedback was sought on the bill from the Law Society, South Australia Police and industry bodies, including the Australian Hotels Association, clubs, the South Australian Wine Industry Association, the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association, the Independent Retailers Association, Retail Drinks Australia and Food South Australia. Overall, there was general support for the bill.

I note that the member for Waite recognised some of the people and venues that received awards in the Australian Hotels Association South Australian awards the other day. I just want to note one venue in my electorate, the Pretoria Hotel at Mannum, which received the award for Live Music Venue—Country, so well done to them. It is a great hotel in my electorate.

There are many others, whether they are at Pinnaroo, with the Golden Grain or the Pinnaroo Hotel, or through Parilla and Lameroo. We get to the Riverside Hotel and the railway hotel in Tailem Bend; the Bridgeport, the Swanport and the Murray Bridge Hotel in Murray Bridge; the Pretoria and the Mannum Hotel at Mannum, the Milang Hotel—I am sure I am going to miss some and I may hear about that. We have the Bridge Hotel in Langhorne Creek and also many clubs and other venues right throughout the electorate. Sadly, the Canberra Hotel recently closed its doors, but hopefully they will open again one day. There are obviously some licensed bottle shops throughout the area as well.

I was interested in the member for Kaurna's remarks that we are making it so hard with liquor licensing in South Australia that people are just shutting their doors. I just want to reflect on John Meek, who, for probably at least four decades, has operated licensed venues in South Australia, not the least of which—I cannot remember which order they came in—was the Ranch or the Oasis at Murray Bridge; it was the same venue. It is a private house now and has been for a while, but 35 years ago that was the place to go outside Murray Bridge.

John Meek has since moved on from there. He did have interests in the Dog and Duck on Hindley Street. The Woolshed has been very good to him, and I want to note his multimillion dollar investment in rebirthing Downtown, where you used to be able to go and play Space Invaders years ago.

The Hon. D.C. van Holst Pellekaan: Many years ago.

Mr PEDERICK: A couple of years ago. Can you remember that, member for Stuart?

The Hon. D.C. van Holst Pellekaan: I can, but it was long before any of us were elected.

Mr PEDERICK: It was not recent, no. It is a great game. This venue, from my understanding, has a licence for 2½ thousand people. There are a range of venues, and I will reflect on Hindley Street for a moment. Some close down, but they are usually rebirthed as something else. I believe the Woolshed was the old Jules Bar many years ago. John Meek is one person I am reflecting on because I know him reasonably well. He has put his heart and soul into running entertainment venues. He has laid it well and truly on the line, especially in his recent venture into Downtown. If people say that nobody is investing in licensed venues, that is just not right. There are many others around the state.

It is a different world that we live in. Sadly, things have changed with time. We have issues around lockout laws and other things. Plastic comes on the scene very early in the night. It is a bit sad to see that society appears to have changed. Sometimes there is trouble, but I believe it is not related just to alcohol. We have to make sure we have up-to-date legislation, and that is why legislation overall has changed over time.

Sadly, I am old enough to remember the days before breathalysers were used by police on the roads, and they have been around for decades now. This seems to go right against the sale of liquor when driving around the country, but many years ago, before we had six or seven-day trading, you had to be a bona fide traveller and have travelled a certain distance to be able to buy alcohol. It goes against drink-driving, etc., but thankfully those days are well behind us.

It is good that we have had the Anderson review and that the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019 is going through the house. I was discussing lockout laws a little while ago. I think 3am is the time that doors shut. It is very rare that I am out at that hour these days. I note that New South Wales either have or are relaxing some of those lockout laws, apart from at some of their main entertainment areas around Kings Cross. Things can change over time. As a government and society, we have to monitor the situation to make sure we do the best we can with entertainment venues.

I note something that the current police commissioner said on the radio the other day. Someone was reflecting on some of the unfortunate incidents that occasionally happen on Hindley Street. The commissioner said, 'Yes, we could shut down Hindley Street, but then the whole sector would just move somewhere else.' He basically was saying that we should manage things where they are for the main late-night area in the city, controlling it as best we can. Things have changed markedly over time. We see hotels open at eight in the morning, and some pretty well go 24 hours bar the lockout laws. We need to work through this place and with society to make sure we put the appropriate laws in place.

I commend all my licensed premises owners, and I also want to acknowledge the Bridgeport Hotel and the Tregoning group, which is about to knock it down and build a new six-storey, four-star hotel in Murray Bridge that will supply 99 rooms with four-star accommodation. They have been building the new drive-through bottle shop and also the temporary venue for the gaming machines while they have been building the new venue. I believe that the knockdown and rebuild of the new Bridgeport Hotel will be happening fairly soon and comes on the back of a lot of development of venues in my electorate.

Obviously, they are not all hotels, but, as far as clubs are concerned, we have the Murray Bridge Racing Club, which recently opened a $35 million investment; we have the Bridgeport Hotel, which is a $40 million investment; we have The Bend Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend, where Sam Shahin will only admit to the first $160 million invested and the Rydges hotel there has 100 rooms; and, in my electorate, at Murray Bridge we also have also the new greyhound track and a licensed venue, which is an investment of around $8 million.

There is lots going on and lots that will happen into the future with these multimillion dollar investments into the area, and I salute everyone for making those investments in my electorate. With those few words, I commend the bill.