Page 231 - Week 01 - Thursday, 24 February 1994

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   Thursday, 24 February 1994


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR CONNOLLY (Attorney-General, Minister for Housing and Community Services and Minister for Urban Services) (10.31): Madam Speaker, I present the Liquor (Amendment) Bill 1994.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Liquor Amendment Act 1993 establishing the method for setting occupancy loadings was passed by this Assembly in June of last year. The Act provides for the determination of occupancy loadings by the Registrar of Liquor Licences on the basis of an assessment by the Fire Commissioner in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. The Act provides for an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from that decision. In considering such an appeal, the president of the tribunal has indicated that, as the legislation stands, as long as the registrar's determination conforms with the assessment of the Fire Commissioner there is no further scope for the review of the merits of that determination. This outcome is clearly an unintended consequence, and the Government has moved quickly to ensure that licensees who believe that the registrar's determination is incorrect can have that decision fully reviewed.

The Assembly will be aware that since the introduction of the occupancy loading legislation the Australian Hotels Association has argued that the allocation of one person per square metre and two for dance floors is an overly conservative approach. The Chief Police Officer has advised me that the occupancy loading legislation has had a positive impact in reducing the level of alcohol-related misbehaviour in the ACT. The Fire Commissioner is unequivocal in his advice to me that, from a fire safety point of view, the ACT methodology is the safest and most appropriate for ACT licensed premises. As Mrs Carnell yesterday said that one person per square metre was the basis of the smoke extraction scheme she is promoting, she would obviously agree that one person per square metre is the appropriate level.

After careful consideration of the issues involved, the Government has decided that the current method for determining occupancy loadings will be retained. I commend the Bill to the Assembly. It will ensure that occupancy loading determinations are fully reviewable on their merits by the AAT. I present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Carnell) adjourned.

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