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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2384 ..

The sixth key area of change is the inclusion of new police powers and offences. These changes result from comprehensive discussions with ACT Policing, the liquor industry and the community. The police will have new emergency powers to shut down a licensed venue for up to 24 hours in circumstances where police need to protect the safety of the community. The minister will also have a new regulatory power to impose a lock-out on licensed premises in circumstances where the protection of the community calls for stern action. These powers will allow the government to immediately respond to situations which threaten the community’s safety in a serious way.

New police resources will be engaged to work constructively with liquor licensees and, if appropriate, enforce the new liquor offences of supplying liquor to an intoxicated person by an employee or patron on licensed premises and supplying liquor without a responsible-service-of-alcohol certificate. It has always been an offence for a licensee to supply liquor to intoxicated patrons and minors on licensed premises. Police will be given new power to issue on-the-spot fines for licensees and their staff who supply liquor to a person who is intoxicated. These new offences are central to the government’s policy objectives of changing the culture of binge drinking, which is the major cause of alcohol-related violence and antisocial behaviour in our community.

There are also two new offences dealing with the way liquor is advertised and promoted. Advertising and promotion of alcohol influences patrons, the way they consume alcohol and how they behave. The first offence is a general prohibition on any promotional or marketing activity which encourages excessive or rapid consumption of liquor. The second offence allows the government to prohibit specific promotional or marketing activities by regulation, such as an activity which inappropriately targets children or young people.

In terms of making a difference and reducing the harms associated with alcohol abuse, the definition of “intoxicated” has been changed from a person’s speech, balance, coordination or behaviour being “seriously affected” by alcohol to “noticeably affected” by alcohol, in line with other jurisdictions. The bill also contains interpretative and procedural provisions for enforcing the new laws and setting fees under the act. (Extension of time granted.)

The seventh key area of change is the new liquor licensing fee structure, which will be set out in a ministerial fee determination and will reflect the higher risks and regulatory costs associated with late-night trading. Licensees who choose to trade past midnight will be subject to a commensurately higher late-night trading fee. The new late-night risk-based fees will be cost-recovery and fund the new police presence in licensed premises to ensure compliance with the legislation. In line with the cost-recovery model and the new regulatory framework, it is timely that the base application and renewal fees also be reviewed.

Continuing the momentum of the review, the government has prepared a draft liquor regulation for public consultation, which I will table for the information of members shortly.

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