Page 199 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008

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This is part of the government’s holistic approach to the regulation of liquor in the ACT—a comprehensive, carefully planned package of reforms targeting an array of issues, including on-the-spot fines, public transport, CCTV and additional police resources. I am pleased to see that the new police are already on the job. I had a conversation this morning with a sergeant down in Tuggeranong who advised me that each sergeant has direct control over particular shopping centres in our electorate, Mr Deputy Speaker, and that is on top of the regular patrols provided by the constables under their charge.

In addition to the government initiatives already outlined by the Attorney-General, the government is committed to reviewing the ACT Liquor Act during this term of government. The review will focus on the extent to which the Liquor Act continues to provide an effective framework for the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol in the territory, in line with ACT community expectations. The Department of Justice and Community Safety is currently preparing a scoping paper setting out the terms of reference for that review. Once the scoping paper has been completed and signed off by the Attorney-General, a discussion paper will be prepared and released in the coming weeks. The discussion paper will examine in detail liquor-related issues, it will canvass options for reform and invite public submissions and comment from interested parties and the general public over a three-month exposure period.

The Liquor Act review will closely examine the following issues to determine whether the current law is adequate in satisfying community expectations about the responsible sale and consumption of alcohol in the territory. With respect to the classification of licences, the review will examine the outcome of recent reviews of liquor licensing laws in other jurisdictions with a view to informing the ACT review of the appropriateness of existing liquor licence categories in the ACT.

The review will examine the existing level of scrutiny of applicants for ACT liquor licences and the merits of requiring applicants for a liquor licence to demonstrate prior liquor industry experience. The review will examine the merits of the adoption of on-the-spot fines for liquor licensees for offences under the Liquor Act, including fines for serving alcohol to intoxicated people, overcrowding of premises, under-age drinking and failure to complete registers and security sign-in books.

The review will examine the merits of introducing voluntary breath testing of people out late in Canberra’s nightlife. Voluntary breath testing could assist people to assess their own level of intoxication and capacity for safe driving and would also provide an opportunity to distribute health information on the safe consumption of alcohol and where help can be sought. The review will examine the impact of clusters of licensed clubs and pubs in the central business district and semi-residential areas and the merits of introducing mandatory staff training in the responsible service of alcohol.

The review will examine the merits of introducing lock-outs or curfews to prevent patrons entering licensed premises after a certain time and the introduction of prescribed alcohol-free areas in the central business district, as well as at family events, such as the Australia Day Live Concert and Skyfire. The review will examine the merits of allowing stand-up drinking in outdoor al fresco areas and the development of a code of conduct for the liquor and licensed hospitality industries to

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