Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 1909 ..
MR OSBORNE: I would like to thank Mr De Domenico for finally answering the question I asked yesterday. I take it from what he said that the answer is no, the ACT tribunal was not consulted. My question today is to the Attorney-General, Mr Speaker. Minister, could you inform this Assembly of the current status of the trial of the restricted liquor trading hours?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for the question. Members will recall that in March of this year the Assembly voted to amend the Liquor Act to give me the power to authorise a limit on trading hours for licensed premises in the ACT. Mr Osborne was enthusiastic about closing hours at that stage. I am not sure that he is enthusiastic in other contexts, but we will not go into that at the moment. Mr Speaker, I can advise members that an evaluation process will be put in place in conjunction with the time limit trial that will be used over the coming year to determine whether limiting trading hours is a successful way of reducing some of the problems associated with alcohol abuse at licensed premises and outside them.
I have approved the tendering for a three-stage evaluation process to be undertaken by independent consultants with skills in criminological research. Stage one will be a literature review and a scoping study; stage two will be the collection of baseline data to see what we are testing this against; and stage three will consist of the evaluation of the effect that restricted liquor trading hours have on antisocial behaviour. Stage one is due to be completed by the middle of July. Under stage two we will collect that baseline data, and that should be completed by the middle of August.
At that point stage three should be able to begin - that is the commencement of the trial itself - and it will run for approximately six months from the end of August 1996. This will allow us a period covering the warmer months of the year when most of the problems occur, or a significant number of problems occur, with licensed premises, and we will be able to experience how those premises react to the closing hours. The closed hours will be from 4.00 am until 7.00 am. Premises trading in the ACT will need to close their doors at 4.00 am, or discontinue the sale of alcohol from that time, and they will be able to reopen, if they wish to, at 7.00 am. Stage three will evaluate the effect of the restriction of liquor trading hours on alcohol-related antisocial behaviour. I think we will have a good chance of being able to determine how successful that trial is as a result of that process.
MR OSBORNE: My supplementary question, Minister, is on the same topic. As you are probably aware, a well-known nightspot is appealing against a 12-hour ban placed on them by the Liquor Licensing Board. Could you also inform this Assembly of the current status of that appeal and when that appeal will be heard?
MR HUMPHRIES: As it happens, Mr Speaker, I know that that appeal was heard recently and a decision was handed down this morning by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The appeal was against the decision of the Liquor Licensing Board to suspend this particular premise, La Grange at Manuka, for a period of 12 hours this coming Thursday.