Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5663 ..
to establish a fee structure based on compliance on the first day of the new scheme because compliance is something that has to be assessed over a period of time. We cannot be in a situation, even within the first six months of the scheme, where liquor licensees still learning their obligations under the new scheme are penalised because of inadvertent errors in relation to compliance. There needs to be a period of adjustment and a reasonable period of time for licensees to understand their obligations under the new scheme.
As Mr Rattenbury outlines in his amendment, there are already provisions in the act that allow the minister to consider a range of factors in determining the fee structure. Many of those factors will be able to be considered once a period of time has elapsed that allows the minister to determine the appropriateness of having regard to compliance, as an example, in relation to the fee structure moving forward.
The government will not be supporting this disallowance motion today. The fee structure is fair and based on evidence that implements a risk-based approach. It is not one size fits all. The government is prepared to consider and undertake a review of the operation of the fee structure, as would be expected with the introduction of any new regulatory scheme.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.53): I am always concerned when the attorney gets up and says that things are fair and based on evidence. And the question is: do you trust the minister when he says these things or do you dig a little deeper and find out whether he is right or not? You only have to go back a couple of minutes in the debate when the minister said, “No, there are 87 venues over $100,000, and 43 venues under $100,000 selling alcohol.”
I think we all understand that, yes, there are restaurants out there. But if the minister is suggesting that restaurants are fuelling alcohol-related violence because of the patrons that go to restaurants then I think he is fooling himself. They may assist. But if they are the target of this and if he thinks punishing restaurants will lead to better outcomes then you have to question “fair and based on evidence”.
Where is the evidence that the trouble is coming out of the restaurant trade? Where is a single document that says the restaurant trade is contributing to alcohol-fuelled violence? He quotes some figures from Queensland, and that is quite appropriate. But he says the high risk is from 3 am to 5 am. He quoted from the Queensland figures that the high risk is from 3 am to 5 am. Why are we saying—
It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 77. Ordered that the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.
MR SMYTH: Are we going to start calling restaurants “bars” and say that the people exiting these restaurants/bars are contributing to alcohol-related violence? It is interesting that in New South Wales they have a thing called a primary service authorisation licence. They differentiate between people that go to a restaurant just for a drink and people that go and have a meal and enjoy a glass of alcohol. And in New South Wales the PSA, the primary service authorisation, licence costs $50. I know the minister will say, “Yes, but it is not risk based.” That is the mantra: “It is risk based.”