Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 31 March 2011) . . Page.. 1203 ..
team, which is giving us the capacity we need upon the ground to enforce these new laws in a proactive and effective manner.
Of course, those police are only there because we have directly linked the revenue that is raised from the new Liquor Act to the provision of those additional police on the ground. I think this is a very strong endorsement of the government’s policy to focus on the harm that is caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol in our community, the fact that with a new suite of liquor laws, combined with effective policing, funded through the liquor licensing regime, we are able to enforce those laws and make our city, make our town centres, make Canberra, a safer place for everyone to enjoy, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights when everyone goes out and enjoys themselves on the town.
It is a very pleasing outcome to see this reduction during this relatively short period of time. Of course, it is early days. We will need to continue to focus as to whether or not this reduction can be sustained, but certainly the indications to date are very encouraging. I commend in particular the work of liquor licensees, the Office of Regulatory Services and ACT Policing in getting this very important and pleasing result when it comes to community safety in our city.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary.
MR HARGREAVES: Minister, what has been the reaction of ACT liquor licensees to the changes and how are police and ORS inspectors interacting with established businesses to ensure that the new laws are not only enforced but properly understood?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves again for the question. Of course there has been some concern and some trepidation about a new regulatory regime and, indeed, a new fee structure. And that is not to be unexpected.
What we have seen is a very strong level of engagement from licensees on understanding their responsibilities under the new Liquor Act. ACT Policing and the Office of Regulatory Services have worked in a very proactive and educative manner with licensees to make sure licensees understand their obligations under the new act, and the emphasis has been as much on education as it has been on enforcement when it comes to the work of our police and regulatory authorities.
What has been particularly pleasing for me to see is, contrary to the doom and gloom that we heard from those opposite, in particular Mrs Dunne, that the new liquor licensing regime would mean the end of so many licensed premises in the ACT, is the fact that we have seen more applications for a liquor licence in the most recent renewal period than we saw in the previous year. The total number of applications for liquor licences has actually gone up, not down. We have seen no reduction in the total number of licences applied for. Once again, the doom and gloom we hear from the arch doom and gloom merchant opposite, Mrs Dunne, has been proven to be false.
Of course it is important that we continue to take a proactive and focused approach when it comes to the enforcement of new laws in an effort to keep Canberrans safe. During the period of 1 December to 23 March, we have seen very dedicated activity,