Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 203 ..
reservations about it. The government’s position is that lockouts should be available to police in our legislation. However, we do not believe that the exercising of that power is justified at this time. We do not believe the option should be closed off. There is mixed evidence about the usefulness of lockouts. I would reject the assertion by Mr Rattenbury that it results in lots of people spilling out at a particular point in time. That is not how a lockout works. A lockout works on the basis that people already in a licensed premise can leave but they cannot get into any other licensed premise.
The key purpose of a lockout is to stop new people coming in after a particular point in time. It is not like a closure because of a 6 o’clock swill—to use that historical example—where everyone is booted out at one time. A lockout is about preventing people coming in after a particular time. It does not require the licensed premise to close. There is a difference. We believe that that option should be available at the discretion of the minister—subject to disallowance by the Assembly—should it be needed in the future and we will be making provision for it in the legislation.
In terms of time frames, I can confirm, as I confirmed last year—indeed I indicated it to Mr Rattenbury earlier this month and I note he repeated the time lines in his motion—that the government intends to release an exposure draft of its new Liquor Act by the end of March this year. The government intends to introduce legislation for debate in the middle of this year for consideration by the Assembly and hopefully passage by the Assembly by the end of the year so that it will be able available before we head into next summer. Obviously the government is in the hands of the Assembly as to whether or not the legislation is passed at the time, but we are confident that the legislation will be introduced in time for the Assembly to do that, should it wish.
The government have a comprehensive reform agenda. It is one we have been working on in great detail for a considerable period of time now. I believe that time is time well-invested. We have a comprehensive reform agenda and I am pleased that the Greens are indicating their support for many elements of it. I look forward to that support when the bill comes to the Assembly.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4:18): This is an important motion because it brings into focus two key points about Canberra’s nightlife and the underlying laws and regulations, particularly those relating to the service and consumption of alcohol.
Firstly, it confirms what we already know about the industry’s desire for reform for liquor licensing laws. Many in the industry are looking for change. They are concerned about the level of violence we see in our cities. They are concerned about the reputation that can fall on their industry because of the behaviour of their patrons. They are concerned about the lack of shared responsibility between venue owners and patrons for alcohol consumption and patron behaviour. They are concerned about the security of their venues and the safety of their patrons. They are concerned to see their patrons get home safely from a good night out. They are concerned to ensure that live entertainment elements of the industry can be sustainable and can enhance that good night out.
The ACT’s industry wants to see changes that will help secure the long-term future of businesses to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for their staff and their