Page 1751 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017
be calculated taking into consideration the following additional factors: past record and involvement with violent or dangerous incidents; level of compliance with the harm minimisation and community safety principles in the current regulations; and concessions for venues that provide other activities, not just drinking, with particular incentives for live music events.
We want to support a safe night-time economy and ensure that there are places open in Civic, but within a culture of people going out for activities, not just for drinking. We want to support our live music industry as well as smaller, independent bars which help create a diverse range of venues for our city. Risk based licensing, we believe, is one way to encourage this kind of diversity.
At the same time, we recognise that risk based licensing is not a silver bullet and that there are a number of other important issues that need to be addressed. Of particular concern is the harm associated with takeaway liquor stores, particularly in relation to domestic violence and pre-loading for a night out. A recent study led by Monash University found that large bottle shops and liquor chains contribute substantially to the risk of trauma in suburban areas. It found that there is a positive correlation between the density of liquor stores and the level of harm. The study also showed that larger outlets and chains sell cheaper alcohol than independent stores, which also increases the risk of harm, and that these stores are more likely to be located in disadvantaged areas.
The Greens support further action to address alcohol related harm associated with off-licence venues. Changes to licence fees, opening hours and levels of outlet density should all be considered as part of the approach. Stores with a higher turnover should be subject to higher licence fees based on their increased risk profile. Additionally, having multiple large liquor stores in one suburb can drive down prices and contribute to increased rates of harm. Therefore, consideration should be given to introducing a geographic licensing restriction scheme, similar to that used for chemists, as an effective harm minimisation measure in response to this issue.
I have outlined some practical measures that we believe could help build on the harm minimisation measures in this bill to further reduce alcohol related violence across Canberra. But we also need to take a more holistic view and examine the deep cultural issues with substance abuse and violence that are the causes of this problem. There are proactive conversations that we need to be having with children and young adults in our community about responsible drinking behaviour and respect for others. These conversations are drivers for creating a culture that comprehensively rejects violence in all its forms. This is a more complex and longer term approach, but it is necessary in order to address the core of the problem, not just the symptoms.
I thank the Attorney-General for bringing this legislation to the Assembly, which the Greens support as a positive first step towards addressing alcohol abuse and violence. This legislation puts into place some important harm minimisation measures whilst also easing the regulatory burden on venues to support Canberra’s growing night-time economy. But there are additional steps we can and should take to make our city safer without turning off the lights. Arts, entertainment and events are important to enhance Canberra’s culture and promote creativity and a greater level of social interaction in