Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2203 ..
and ultimately it is the director-general that is responsible to me on policy matters. I think it is a very valuable two-way communication channel between these industry and community representatives and me as the minister that the principal adviser to me is also the person hearing those concerns first hand from industry. So I think that reform makes a lot of sense.
I have already addressed the issues around secondary supply so I will not go into those again. Finally, I will address the issues around the use of criminal intelligence information holdings in determining whether or not a person is a fit and proper person to hold a liquor licence. These provisions are not unusual, nor are they unique. They exist already in the security industry where, before someone can be granted a licence to work as security guard, for example a bouncer on the door of a pub or club, they have to get an approval, get a licence, and be subject to the assessment not just of their criminal record but with regard to any criminal intelligence holdings about them held by police forces either in this jurisdiction or in others.
Those changes were introduced into the security industry because there was a real concern that, whilst people may have avoided any formal conviction for a criminal offence, they may nevertheless be involved with individuals or organisations who are involved in criminality—and the most obvious concern is people in the security industry working as bouncers or security guards who may have an association, for example, with a criminal motorcycle gang or other criminal group and who are using that position of trust for their own improper advantage.
So these provisions exist already for people who work on the front door of licensed premises. It does not make a lot of sense to me that we have a higher threshold for determining whether or not someone is a fit and proper person to work at the front door of a licensed premise than for the people who actually are responsible for the management of that licensed premises. The government’s position is that the rule should be the same.
If it is the view of the Liberal Party that stricter rules should apply to bouncers than apply to the liquor licensee, I would be interested to understand their justification for that position. I do not really believe there is one. The provisions are the same provisions as apply for people who work in the security industry more broadly and they will help to prevent criminal infiltration of the liquor industry by allowing the Commissioner for Fair Trading to refuse a liquor licence or the transfer of a liquor licence if they believe in all the circumstances, having regard not just to the person’s criminal history but also any criminal intelligence held by police, that they are not a fit and proper person to hold a liquor licence.
I do not want people gaining liquor licences who have connections, direct or indirect, with criminal organisations and I do not think anyone else in this place should want that either. So these are important changes, they are important reforms, but they are largely non-contentious. There will be a further round of reform. The government has not determined its position on the range of matters outlined in the recent review document into our liquor licensing laws but we recognise that there is more work to be done.