City News

Lockouts: any venue can be exempt

Any venue can be exempted if it pays "a reasonable fee"

Any CBD venue could be exempted from Barry O’Farrell’s new lockout laws providing it pays a “reasonable fee”, it can be revealed.

The legislation allows the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing’s Director General to issue an exemption as long as it “is unlikely to result in an increase in the level of alcohol-related violence or anti-social behaviour”.

Under that arrangement, a large venue such as the Ivy complex, owned by Justin Hemmes’ Merivale, could be exempt if it convinced the OLGR that such a decision would not lead to more violent incidents.

The Liquor Amendment Bill 2014

The Australian Hotels Association’s NSW director of policing, JohnGreen, did not confirm whether any venues had approached the AHA seeking assistance about an exemption. But he told City News the AHA would assist such a request.

“We’ll be working to ensure any application process is in plain language without exorbitant fees so hotels are not weighted down by significant legal and application costs,” Mr Green said.

The allowance of exemptions is a “common sense provision”, he said, and the AHA hopes “the Director General considers any exemption applications on that basis”.

A spokesperson for the hospitality minister George Souris declined to answer questions and referred City News to the OLGR.

The OLGR was unable to respond to questions before deadline on Wednesday.

City News asked Merivale if it would request exemptions for any of its venues, including its bar Palmer & Co, which has a 5am licence. We did not receive a response.

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