Statutes Amendment (Liquor Licensing) Bill

Second Reading

I wish to thank all speakers who have contributed to this debate on the Statutes Amendment (Liquor Licensing) Bill 2019 and, in particular, the indication from the member for Kaurna of the support of the opposition for this bill. In a most entertaining manner, the other contributors have educated me in relation to what opportunities I have all over South Australia, wherever their electorates are, in terms of where I might get good food and wine and beverage. So thank you very much.

May I also indicate that the consultation, as has been alluded to by the member for Kaurna, was with the Australian Hotels Association, Clubs SA, the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA), Restaurant and Catering SA, and the South Australian Independent Retailers, all of whom indicated a positive reaction to the proposals in this bill. I do not think there were any other matters raised by the opposition that have not already been covered in briefings.

Obviously, though, it is important to remember that this bill tidies up the Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017 in respect of the commencement of some aspects of that legislation. But it also essentially transfers planning and development matters to the attention of local government, rather than having conditions on liquor licensing, and they have no direct import as to the sale and provision of alcoholic beverages. Not only is it consistent with the previous government's position on transferring noise and nuisance matters to local government but it essentially ensures that we do not have overlap.

I will say that one of the areas which has become an issue—and certainly in my electorate it has been identified as an issue that may need some attention—is the question of dealing with Airbnb properties which are used for parties which create a level of jovial conduct, which is the kindest way I can describe it, usually with large numbers and alcohol is consumed. It attracts the concerns of neighbours usually who feel that the noise level, and perhaps even littering around the property, is something that is inconsistent with the quiet occupation of their premises or street. These are matters that we will probably have to look at in due course.

There has been a comprehensive review by Mr Anderson QC, a substantial piece of legislation, rewriting a number of the rules in relation to liquor licensing and, as has been indicated, these are tidying up aspects in this legislation. Members should also be aware that there is a gambling review underway arising out of a second comprehensive report of Mr Anderson QC, one which was kept concealed by the previous government. Nevertheless, as members now know, it is one that we have read, released and acted on in last year's budget with the abolition of the IGA and the implementation of new processes, particularly in relation to gambling initiatives or harm minimisation in gambling initiatives, to bring those up to a standard that is necessary for today.

So we are continuing to work in this area. The types of things that will overlap we will certainly have to give some consideration to, including matters such as the transferability of licences and the different rules that apply, for example, in hotels between the transfer of their liquor licence and the different rules that apply for the transfer of their poker machine licences. These are the sorts of things that we need to work through to make sure that we minimise the regulatory regime which is completely counterproductive and/or unnecessary and also to strengthen areas where there are contemporary areas of weakness.

I thank members for recognising the event co-hosted by the Australian Hotels Association and Lion last night. Many members of the parliament, including from the opposition, attended this event. Reference has been made to the research work that they have undertaken. It is important to recognise the significance of what hotels and restaurants provide regarding an ambience of community connection and social inclusion.

It should not be forgotten that there is a large group in the community across the age group that includes young adults, whose only real friend is usually some electronic device attached to their hand, across to those who are in retirement and, for whatever reason, are relatively disconnected with other social activity. This research highlights being able to be in a place of connection where you walk in the door and are recognised by your name, you know the other people who are there and it is a safe environment not only for the consumption of alcoholic beverages but obviously for social interaction.

As I said last night, we appreciate the fact that they do provide a secure environment, which is part of the envelope of regulatory management that we have around the consumption and sale of liquor, whether it is who gets to sell it, who gets to consume it, where it is sold, what hours it is sold or what the conditions are that apply to it. These are all matters that are part of the regulatory model where it is accepted that the product in the wrong hands—for example, consumed by children or in excess by anyone—can be dangerous, so we have a licensing scheme that sits around it.

It is significant that the Hotels Association is signing up to a contemporary form of social behaviour so that people who connect via dating agencies online who need to have a safe place to meet are encouraged to go to places that are public, secure and provide an environment in which there can be interaction. Apparently, not all of these dating introductions come through with the full promise of the product so, unsurprisingly, some of the meetings are aborted fairly early as you find out that the picture of who you meet does not quite live up to your expectation and you want to get out of that arrangement.

The Ask for Angela campaign, which has been introduced and now signed up to by our hotels, offers a service where someone can go to the bar, speak to a staff member, indicate that they want to contact Angela, which is code to ensure that they have safe egress from the premises and can obtain a taxi or Uber, or some other source of transport, and be able to move on. This is all part of current social expectation, current social activity, and we on this side of the house recognise the importance of the Hotels Association in providing support with these contemporary introductions.

Whilst I enjoyed hearing about the local dance and the restrictions that occurred, one can go through a whole history in South Australia of hotels and public houses and their importance in providing shelter for the travelling salesman. However, we grew up in a time when there had been a history of over a hundred years of the prohibition process and restrictions. In fact, I think our great-grandmothers marched in the streets to introduce 6 o'clock closing. Obviously, time has moved on. I certainly grew up in a time when my mother would sit in the car park waiting for dad to come out.

My mother would wait in the car while my father went into the local hotel, usually to provide cheques for employment for various people who worked in his shearing contracting business. She was not allowed in the hotel because, of course, women were not allowed in the front bar of hotels. They would have a lounge system where women apparently were able to take a drink—an innocuous sherry or something—but that was about it.

I came through an era like that and then, when I was at university and early in my employment, I saw hotels that were, I have to say, in a pretty shabby state. But today, with the introduction of very significant renovations and upgrades, our hotels provide a public place of meeting that is far superior to anything we saw as we grew up. This is across the board in South Australia. They provide a valuable meeting place. They provide a place of magnificent refreshment and a safe and secure environment to consume other refreshments, including alcoholic beverages.

Congratulations to those in the hotel industry and indeed those in the restaurant trades because they, too, provide this environment for the benefit of those who seek to meet and exchange. Again, I thank members for their contribution and thank the opposition for indicating their support for the passage of the bill.