Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 6 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 2316..
I commend this report. I would like to begin by expressing my appreciation to the chair, Mrs Dunne, who is not here; to Ms Hunter, a member of our committee; and to Dr Brian Lloyd, who had the challenging task of putting this material together.
Essentially the committee was charged with conversation around how to address alcohol-induced violence at various venues around town. We looked at nightclubs; we looked at the club industry; we looked at the hotel industry; and we had a bit of a look at the off-licence issue. We also looked at the social side of things. We noted the propensity of people to preload before going out on the town and the way in which people were preloading—go down to the local supermarket liquor outlet, purchase their alcohol, go home, consume it and then head into town for a night out. We also noted that some people were preloading through the services of off-licences in the city district or in Manuka, Kingston, Belconnen or Tuggeranong and that they were also going to a series of venues and ending up at one particular venue. Some people would find themselves involved in a violent altercation. Some people would actually leave home with the intention of having a violent altercation with people. And their preloading was part of that process.
It was a fairly complicated inquiry. Mr Speaker, I draw to members' attention that there are eight recommendations.
We looked at the balance of responsibility. Thus far the focus seems to be on the licensees as the ones responsible for preventing violence from happening inside or outside their premises, when there should be more accent on social responsibility. People should not be going out with that intent. There is one recommendation that we should be increasing awareness through an education program to tell people that this stuff is just not on—we just do not want it—and that they should not engage in this sort of activity because it is not socially acceptable. That is in recommendation 3.
We have addressed the notion of preloading. We note that, as I just indicated, there seems to be an imbalance, with the licensees of the late night venue being held responsible for the violence that is happening outside their premises when in fact it is quite possible that people engaging in that violent activity had not actually consumed any alcohol on those premises at all but had done it somewhere else. We thought there was disproportionate responsibility levied on those particular venues. We were encouraging the government to look back at the food chain, if you like, where people can access their alcoholic beverages, whether it be at the plethora of off-licences or elsewhere.
When we talk about off-licences, we are not talking about the small business shop—there is one here in Civic not far from this place—that sells alcoholic products as its main item of merchandise. We are also talking about the Woolworths outlets, 1st Choice, the BWS outlets and those sorts of places which are part of the supermarket chain. We do not want people to think that just because they have got a small off-licence they are the people that we have targeted. We are not. We are targeting the fact that you can go and purchase an alcoholic beverage anywhere—and what you do with it when you have actually got hold of it.