The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) a leading alcohol awareness group wants venues in NSW that serve alcohol to pay much higher licence fees more frequently in order to help fund the high cost of alcohol abuse.
According to statistics alcohol abuse costs the NSW government $1.029 billion a year however only $1.09 million is collected from licensees. FARE’s Chief Officer Michal Thorn said that venues that serve alcohol should be charged according to their capacity and opening hours.
Alarmingly nearly a quarter of all the costs of alcohol abuse to the NSW are criminal justice costs, according to the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA). Unfortunately as the NAAPA points out, the low once-off licensing application fees currently paid by NSW liquor licensees do not even come close to recovering these substantial costs incurred by the NSW government.
Read an excerpt from News.com.au which explains:
Alcohol abuse costs the NSW government $1.029 billion annually but only $1.09 million is collected from licensees, the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) said.
It argues in favour of annual “risk-based licence” fees, substantially higher than the one-off $5000 application fee paid by some large establishments.
A hotel licence costs $2000 but an additional application fee is charged for extending trade beyond midnight.
The highest fee, though, for a late-trading authorisation is $3000, which allows premises to keep the grog flowing between 2am until 5am.
According to the NAAPA studies have shown that assaults occur most frequently at licensed premises after midnight, and these licensed premises need to pay for the contribution they make to these high costs of alcohol abuse.
The submission also states that standard closing times for all on-licence premises across NSW from Monday to Saturday should be midnight, with extended trading venues limited to 3am and lock-outs no later than 1am.
The submission also wants small bars with a patronage limit of 60, to be governed by “the same rules and regulations as other licence types”.
The post on www.news.com.au goes on to explain:
Under the NAAPA scheme, for example, the Sydney CBD mega-club The Ivy would have to pay $25,184 per year, the Penrith Panthers Leagues Club would pay $16,790 while the Coogee Bay Hotel would pay $20,387, each year for their licences.
“Liquor licenses should never have been granted in perpetuity,” Mr Thorn said.
“The paltry one-off application fee that licensees are currently paying is not enough. An annual fee would return both equity and accountability to a system severely lacking in both.”
In its submission to the statutory review of the NSW Liquor Act 2007 and the Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007, the NAAPA also advocates earlier closing times, late-night lock-outs and the abolition of 24-hour licences.
Licensees however would argue that it is not fair to blame them entirely for the misuse of alcohol in our society, particularly when most licenced venues are serving alcohol responsibly and abiding by RSA rules.