Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 678 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
lack of a fair and just lease agreement or been taken over by large monopolies? No doubt the Commercial and Retail Tenants Association would be happy to bring to the Minister's attention those tenants who no longer operate, as a result of the decisions we made in 1994.
If this Assembly is serious about supporting small business in Canberra, who provide the bulk of employment in the region, after all, it will pass this amendment simply to allow fairness and justice for all tenants and landowners, not just for a select few.
Debate (on motion by Mr De Domenico) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 28 February 1996, on motion by Mr Osborne:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (10.49): Mr Osborne's Bill proposes amendments to the Liquor Act that would enable regulations to be made limiting trading hours for the sale of liquor in on-licensed premises. This Bill is consistent with the Government's election commitment to have in place provisions enabling the restriction of trading hours of licensed premises and is also consistent with our stated position to use those powers as a way of curbing alcohol-related violence, especially in and around licensed premises, if necessary.
The Government's decision to support Mr Osborne's Bill does not telegraph our intention to settle on 3.00 am as a closing time; rather, it signals that the Government supports the need to add another option to its armoury for use in dealing with alcohol-related crime. In a ministerial statement delivered to the Assembly towards the end of last year, the Attorney-General, Mr Humphries, made it clear that the restriction of trading hours would be back on the agenda if there was no significant improvement by the end of summer in licensee and patron behaviour in Civic and other late-night entertainment areas. The Attorney-General has recently stated that several licensees have continued to flout the occupancy loading requirements of their premises, have not taken adequate precautions to guard against the sale of liquor to minors, and have continued to sell liquor to intoxicated persons. Police and liquor licensing inspectors are continuing to target those licensees, with some success.
The Attorney-General's statement signalled to the liquor industry that an opportunity existed for those in the industry who are not conscious of their obligations as licensees to conduct their business within the law and to adopt responsible practices to assist in reducing the incidence of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. As the Government has said repeatedly, not all licensees are affected by this statement because, on the whole, most act responsibly. Also, most licensees cease trading before the hours being proposed by Mr Osborne and the AHA. The Government has been eager to ensure that the industry is given a fair chance to demonstrate its willingness to play a part in addressing what