The Australian Hotels Association has apparently declared that the national multicultural festival should be kept free from alcohol, a view that has been condemned by ClubsAct who claims that this is taking it a step too far.
The reason for the AHA making this statement is because people serving alcohol at the festival have not had to undergo responsible service of alcohol training, a very strict requirement for any worker at a licenced venue. The AHA has claimed this is a double-standard and if these people are not required to undergo RSA training, they shouldn’t be serving alcohol at the festival at all.
A Post from CanberraTimes.com.au explains:
”The festival should be alcohol-free if they can’t satisfy the same requirements as all licensees,” the general manager of the ACT branch of the AHA, Brad Watts, told The Sunday Canberra Times.
But on social media, ClubsACT defended the multicultural festival.
”Looking forward to visiting #multiculturalfestival today. Can’t agree with the AHA on banning the sale of alcohol though,” ClubsACT tweeted on Sunday.
Chief executive Jeff House said there was nothing to warrant the festival becoming alcohol free.
”The management of the festival work in conjunction with the relevant authorities to make sure they abide by all the regulations, including the relaxation of the serving of kava. It’s a good event, it’s well run and I don’t believe there’s a need for it to be alcohol free,” Mr House said.
”The idea of having those stalls that sell alcohol do an RSA course, I think that’s worth looking at to ensure that people aren’t being served alcohol when they shouldn’t be,” Mr House said, noting ClubsACT was one provider of the course. ”I think that’s a worthy step, but I think banning the sale of alcohol at the event is a step way too far.”
A festival spokesperson said all stall holders selling alcohol have to go through a non-commercial liquor licensing application process and meet set criteria to serve alcohol.
The festival’s organisers have made strides in ensuring a more family friendly environment by bringing forward last drinks from midnight to 10pm this year.
Some stall holders who serve alcohol, such as the Canberra Brewers Club said that they brief all volunteers in the key points of responsible service of alcohol before their shift to ensure no problems with their liquor licence and to avoid any other problems with customers. Any license holders who fail to meet their requirements in terms of their license face losing it and so they do try to ensure workers know the basics of Responsible Service of Alcohol.
The huge festival attracts about a quarter of a million people each year and enjoys a relatively good safety record but making staff working at the festival undergo RSA training would ensure that they are aware of how to keep patrons safe and this in turn would result in an overall better (and safer) experience for festival goers.