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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5662 ..


Some claims have also been made about the graduated fee structure that the government has sought to introduce. Those who oppose it say, “Well, there is a recognition that smaller premises pay less, but you have to have an occupancy loading of 80 or less and there’s hardly any licensed premises that have an occupancy loading of 80 or less.” That is just not true. In fact, there are 87 licensed premises which have an occupancy loading of less than 80 people—87. There are another 43 that have less than 100. So this so-called fictional small number of licensed premises that have small occupancy loadings is just that—a fiction; there are a large number.

The fee structure is designed to reward small premises. In fact, the fee increase for small premises of less than 80 people is $500. I repeat: $500. It has been structured that way as an incentive to support the ongoing viability of small licensed premises—the significant number of small licensed premises that exist in our community. This fee structure is the right policy setting.

I will draw your attention to the fee structure that exists in other jurisdictions. It is particularly worth while highlighting the fee structure that exists in those other jurisdictions that also have a risk-based licensing approach. Queensland, for example, has divided its three-tiered risk-based fee structure to apply to venues which trade all week and those which trade on weekends only. High risk venues which trade from 3 am to 5 am all pay a flat risk fee of $10,000 per annum and high risk venues which trade from midnight to 3 am all pay a fee of $7,700 approximately per annum. Queensland’s high risk venues which are trading all week from 3 am to 5 am pay a total annual licensing fee of $13,000 per annum, which includes a base renewal fee of $2,700. Queensland’s high risk venues trading all week from midnight to 3 am pay a total annual licensing fee of $10,517 per annum.

Madam Deputy Speaker, when you look at other jurisdictions that have a risk-based licensing regime, you can see that the risk-based licensing regime proposed by the territory and the risk-based licensing regime in other jurisdictions are largely comparable. It underlines the point that, whilst it is easy to claim, “There’s been a 500 per cent increase in fees,” the fact is that liquor licensing fees in the territory have been abnormally cheap for an abnormally long period of time. In fact, there has been no substantive change to the liquor licensing fees for on-licences for close to 20 years. It would be difficult to sustain the argument that there should not be an adjustment to reflect the significant change that we have seen in terms of alcohol consumption in our community and also the relative value of the fee over that period of time.

The government supports this fee structure. As Mr Rattenbury said, it sends a price signal. It says that if you trade late, it is going to cost you more. If you sell large volumes of alcohol or if you purchase for sale large volumes of alcohol, it is going to cost you more. That is the appropriate price signal to send because the more you make alcohol available, the more likely you are to see harm in the community. These changes and this philosophy are supported by our police, our health professionals and all of those who have to pick up the pieces that fall as a result of alcohol-related violence and antisocial behaviour.

It has always been the government’s intention to review the risk structure moving forward, particularly in relation to the issue of compliance. It would be unreasonable


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