Community Event Liquor Licences II


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (15:27): I would like to speak again on a very important issue, that of liquor licences for community events in country areas. My speech should be heard and read immediately following on from the grievance speech I made on Tuesday, 7 June (exactly two weeks ago) on the same topic. I would just like to continue on this very important topic. At the outset I would like to restate my very clear view that I do not support under-age drinking, drink-driving or any other antisocial behaviour that may be connected to the consumption of alcohol, and that is very clear. I think all people who consume alcohol must do so responsibly.

It is also very important that all agencies which regulate liquor licensing must do that in a responsible fashion, as well. The enforcement of our laws must be done in a responsible fashion, not in a draconian, overzealous way, and certainly not in a way that may seem, at the outset, to make life easier for the agencies or easier for the police or easier for the communities when, in actual fact, it will just make life harder in the long run.

Community events that require liquor licences, so that adults can fully enjoy them, are indeed for families. There are people all the way from young babies through to grandparents and great-grandparents. I am talking about agricultural shows, rodeos, country horseraces and many other styles of events in the country. These events do three key things: they provide the activity in country and outback areas; they provide the event which people can attend and enjoy; and, in many cases, they keep sports and activities and people's skills up in those areas, as well. They certainly provide that very important community event for people to go to—to get out of the house, get off the farm and interact with each other.

They also provide very important commercial benefits to local businesses. All of the businesses in the towns and districts that hold these events benefit purely by virtue of the fact that the crowd is there. Whether it is a smaller crowd, from 100 or 200 people to a larger crowd of 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 people, local economies benefit enormously from these events. The third one, of course, very importantly, is the fundraising. These events are typically run by volunteers raising funds.

I would like to go through a couple of examples of situations where I consider that the liquor licensing laws, with regard to the acquisition of liquor licences by these community groups, have been dealt with completely inappropriately. I am reading an extract from an email sent to me by the secretary of the Jamestown Show Society about the Northern Agricultural Show's Association Annual Presentation Dinner on 26 March in the Jamestown Hall. It states:

When notifying the local police of the event we were told that we had to have one security guard for up to 150 people and two for over 150.

Due that information the committee chose to set the limit at 140 guests mostly aged 60 and over. .. The P resident applied for the licence online 6 weeks prior to the event.

After hearing nothing from the department two weeks prior to the event she rang ... only to be told that she would definitely receive confirmation before the event and that they would only be processing the application during the week of the event.

She received the licence by email two days before the event .

The president assumed that getting the application in 6 weeks prior to the event [she] would receive the licence well before the event was held.

I understand that you only need to get this in three weeks beforehand. So, this puts people under enormous stress and pressure.

I would also like to touch very quickly on rodeos. This year both the Carrington and Wilmington rodeos' licensing areas for alcohol were caged in—segregated—so that if you wanted to go into the area where you were allowed to have alcoholic drink only people aged 18 and over could go in there, and there was a six-foot high fence separating them from their families. That meant that parents and grandparents who wanted to come to a family show and watch a rodeo, could not enjoy a beer, a glass of wine, or something like that, at the same time without leaving their kids.

So, what that does is separate families, it separate the enjoyment of the event enormously, and it also hurts the fundraising. It significantly impacts on the fundraising that these events are allowed to undertake. That sort of application of liquor licensing laws by the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner and the police makes life incredibly difficult for these events and it makes them unworkable into the future. I ask the government to direct a change to the application of the policy.


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