Here’s cheers to liquor law reform

CCI welcomes the State Government’s announcement that it will reform WA’s liquor laws to cut red tape and support WA’s transforming hospitality industry.

The Liquor Control Amendment Bill 2018 will give the Tourism WA CEO equal consideration in liquor applications to that of the Chief Health Officer and Commissioner of Police.

Under the changes, Tourism WA will be able to put forward a submission regarding the tourism benefits of any application.

A new category will be added to the public interest assessment of a licence application that allows consideration of a venue’s tourism, community and cultural benefits.

Licensed restaurants with a capacity of 120 people or less will be able to serve alcohol without a meal.  Currently, restaurant licensees must lodge a separate application for a permit to allow this.

The State Government says the changes reflect a sensible balance between harm minimisation and transforming the drinking culture in Perth by permitting venues to cater for the after-work drinks crowd and giving greater choice to visitors.

CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell says CCI has long supported reform of WA’s liquor licencing laws, including working with the now Premier to successfully advocate for changes to the Liquor Licencing Act in 2006 to allow for more flexibility in Perth’s restaurant and bar industry.

“Perth’s small bar scene flourished as a result of these changes and today’s reforms will boost this further, giving small businesses the flexibility they need to create jobs and meet consumer demand,” he says.

“CCI particularly welcomes the announcement that Tourism WA’s Chief Executive Officer will be given equal consideration to assessing liquor licensing applications.

“This will go a long way toward resetting WA’s tourism agenda, which has been lagging behind other states.”

The latest National Visitor Survey revealed that WA was the only state to experience a decline in interstate visitors during 2016-17, down 12 per cent compared to a national average growth of 3.8 per cent.

“Creating a vibrant city centre where businesses want to invest, consumers want to spend their time, and tourists want to visit, must be a priority if we want to boost our local economy,” Rodwell says.

“Perth’s pop-up bars and festivals such as Fringe and Perth Festival are perfect examples of how great our state can be when regulation gets out of the way – in fact, it’s what helped us get named ‘Australia’s new capital of cool’ by CNN Travel last year.

“The next step that the Government must now take to continue removing Perth’s label of ‘Dullsville’ and ensure local businesses can compete, is to deregulate retail trading hours.

“CCI encourages the State Government to continue to review WA’s retail trade regulations and, at the very least, bring us in line with the rest of the country.”

►As WA’s peak business advocate, CCI works to elevate the concerns of WA industry to key nationwide decision-makers. Find out more about our advocacy efforts here.

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