Community Event Liquor Licences


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (15:28): I would like to take this opportunity just to highlight a difficulty in regional areas (and no doubt in metropolitan areas as well) with regard to volunteer community organisations getting liquor licences for community events that they run. I am talking specifically about limited licences for one-off events, which might be annual events. I am not talking about hotel licences or restaurant licences but, specifically, limited licences.

These affect groups like show societies, sporting clubs, hospital auxiliaries, church events, rodeos, RFDS fundraisers, music events and a whole range of community events that are run by volunteers. They are very important community events. Particularly in the country and more remote areas, having these events offers a terribly important gathering point. It is not only the event itself but the fact that the whole community—young, middle-aged and old people—can all come together to meet. Also, they are very, very important fundraisers, typically.

The Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has a very hard job to do, and I do not for one moment want to suggest that it should be easy to get a liquor licence. I do not suggest for a moment that they should just be handed out willy-nilly. We do have very, very serious issues to deal with. We do not want to encourage drink driving and under-age drinking, or antisocial behaviour in general, and being careful that events do not encourage that is important. I am not suggesting that the rules that exist should be eased, but what I am suggesting is that, at times, the implementation of those rules upon community organisations is overzealous and, in my mind, occasionally inappropriate.

I have been given examples of community fundraisers, such as one RFDS fundraiser in a small country town, where the average age of the people who attend would probably be about 60 years. I would say that people in their 40s, like myself, would be in the vast minority. I went to one of these fundraisers at Jamestown, for example, about 2½ years ago. It was a tremendous event, but I would say that probably 20 or 30 per cent of the people who attended a cold town hall on a country night brought a rug with them to put over their knees. For an event like that to be required to have a security guard is over the top, when you are talking about responsible grown-up, serious people coming together for a night of music, auctions, fundraising and a few drinks and a nice meal.

Show society events have exactly the same situation, and certainly rodeos lately have been under great scrutiny. In the electorate of Stuart, we have four very important rodeos—at Carrieton, Peterborough, Wilmington and Spalding—and there are other rodeos further afield in country and outback South Australia. Those very important events have come under great pressure lately. I draw the house's attention to the difficulties experienced by the Carrieton and Wilmington Rodeo Societies—again, volunteer organisations. They are tremendous events, with anywhere up to 2,000 people attending. For example, to receive their liquor licences at the very last minute is just an enormous stress on the people organising these events. I am told that Rock the Mount (the country and western music event at Melrose), which is another very large event, getting 2,000 or 3,000 people, received its liquor licence the day before the event, which caused undue stress and strain.

The very, very important issue here is that the increase in the number of security guards these events are expected to have is killing them financially. These events raise tens of thousands of dollars every year for local communities—this is money that will not come from anywhere else. I do not say that running these events is not without risk, but putting the organisers under extreme duress, telling them that they have to double the number of security guards, is not appropriate. Security guards are important, but to try to squash these events and to say that every single risk that is out there on any night of the week on any street, whether it be Adelaide or a small country town, is now, on this night, the responsibility of the organising committee is completely inappropriate. I would really like to highlight how difficult this is for these communities and these volunteer organisations.


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