No strikes have been recorded against city venues since the introduction of Barry O’Farrell’s lockout laws, the government says.
The ‘three strikes” disciplinary scheme, which came into effect in 2012, imposes strikes when a licensee or approved manager is convicted of one of a range of the most serious offences as set out by the Liquor Amendment Act.
These acts include permitting intoxication on premises, supplying a minor with alcohol, non-compliance with a closure order and breaching key liquor licence conditions applying to violent venues.
Hospitality minister George Souris said it is an indication that the new laws are “working”. Since January 1, 2012 there have been 83 strikes recorded against 79 venues, including one third strike and three second strikes. That amounts to just one strike every ten days across the whole of the state.
“The NSW government’s three strikes disciplinary scheme has provided unprecedented motivation for all licensed venues to lift their game or risk the ultimate sanction,” he said.
But the scheme has come under fire from alcohol policy campaigners as being ineffective. Kings Cross nightclub Bada Bing has hosted intoxicated customers, breached its liquor licence conditions and even had staff violently attack patrons, according to a brief given to authorities by Kings Cross police last year.
But the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing said no strikes have been issued against the club because none of the incidents meet the criteria of the scheme.
Mr O’Farrell has highlighted the laws as one of the government’s “key responses to combating alcohol-related violence”.
But alcohol campaigner Tony Brown said the revelation exposed the scheme’s ‘’complete impotency and makes a lie of the government’s mantra that we have the toughest liquor laws in Australia’’.
Local venues that have incurred a first strike include the Shady Pines Saloon and the Grounds of Alexandria for selling liquor outside licensed hours and keeping the premises open outside of licensed hours respectively.