Mr DULUK (Waite) (16:40): I also rise to say a few words on the Statutes Amendment (Liquor Licensing ) Bill 2019 and to thank the Attorney and the office of the CBS for their work in tidying up some anomalies out of the Anderson review several years ago.
As the member for Morphett so eloquently pointed out, the bill before us and the review of the act are making provision for the new licence classes, to which current licenses will be transitioned in November 2019. As part of this transition, Consumer and Business Services are undertaking a review of the current licence conditions, including changing and revoking certain conditions where necessary. I think it is really important that we spend time across all agencies, and obviously CBS are beginning this one, and that as a Liberal government we do what we can to remove red tape and regulation from business, especially from small business, which, as you know, sir, is the backbone of our South Australian economy.
As we mark 12 months from the election of the Marshall Liberal government, one thing in terms of reform and assisting small business has been around payroll tax reduction and increasing the threshold to $1.5 million. For so many businesses across South Australia, particularly in my electorate and including those associated with liquor licensing and the selling of alcohol, that is a very important and welcome small business reform. There is certainly a lot more to do in reform for small businesses, but payroll tax is a really important part. Other things that we need to certainly look at as a government and as policymakers is the cost of energy and the cost of power because that is another big impost on small business.
As a bit of background, the Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017 was passed in the last parliament. As I said, a lot of the reforms were developed in response to the 2016 review conducted by His Honour Tim Anderson QC. The review made 129 recommendations to create a modern and flexible licensing system that supports a vibrant hospitality industry, while maintaining a safe drinking culture. The state government delivered the 2018-19 state budget last year and, of course, this had several reviews and one of them was around liquor licensing fees. As I understand it, current licences will transition to the new liquor licence categories commencing in mid-2019.
In the current laws, there are some out-of-date provisions that put extra pressure on venues, owners and staff. I like to think that in some cases South Australia is a progressive state, and this
government is certainly working towards assisting small businesses and removing that burden on the employers of so many South Australians. There are some old rules that we are looking to remove.
The aim of the review is to assess the adequacy, effectiveness and relevance of the licensing regime, identify improvements to modernise the licensing regime and reflect current day community attitudes. There is no doubt that community attitudes have changed in relation to the way we drink and consume alcohol and in relation to where and what we drink as well. The review will promote greater business flexibility and encourage new bold and dynamic business models.
Three objectives of the review were reducing red tape, promoting a safer drinking culture and vibrancy, as I said. That report was released in July 2016, following extensive consultation, including public submissions. In his review, Mr Anderson stated that he believed that the conditions placed on a liquor licence should be relevant to the sale, supply and the consumption of liquor. In that report, Mr Anderson discusses the conditions relating to garbage, noise and planning conditions and recommends the matters are handled by the relevant bodies of local councils.
On that, I think one area where local councils can provide a lot more breadth and improvement in their speed of decision-making for small business is in the way they go about making decisions on granting liquor licences. In one example in my electorate, the City of Mitcham took almost 12 months to approve an extension of a liquor licence for a local cafe. The frustration that causes small business owners who want to provide wonderful product, food and beverage service is disappointing to them and really slows down their development. Ultimately, the approval was a positive one and that business has gone from strength to strength.
Another recommendation was that the liquor and gambling commissioner be provided with discretion to add, substitute, vary or revoke any existing conditions as a result of reforms. Unfortunately, there was still some red-tape anomalies when the Liquor Licensing Act was passed in 2017. This includes those conditions that are considered a planning consideration rather than a liquor regulation. The reforms that we are discussing today will allow the commissioner to do just that: to use his discretion and consideration to remove that red tape.
Some of the conditions in the current laws that will be removed through these proposed changes and amendments include that premises shall not be promoted as a bar, lounge bar, lounge tavern, in-hotel beer garden, nightclub or karaoke bar. The reason for the removal of this condition is that competing businesses will enforce this as a means to detract potential customers from going to a venue other than their own. That is obviously a condition around competition.
There is a bit of a change around rubbish collection. Currently, the rules state that no rubbish, including empty bottles and cans, can be moved outside or be taken away between the hours of 11pm and 7am. Naturally, this does not relate to the sale or supply of liquor and is a council matter and should be regulated accordingly. One of the other provisions currently is:
the licensee shall ensure all rubbish, including broken glass, broken beer bottles/stubbies/cans are removed from the nearby streets adjacent/across the road from the licensed premises;
This condition also does not relate to the sale and supply of liquor and concerns the area outside the licensed area. There are some changes around exit lights powered by a source other than the main power. This will be removed. Once again, it falls within council jurisdiction. The same thing applies around smoking areas at licensed venues. They must also remain closed. Once again, that falls into council jurisdiction.
There are a lot of different reforms and conditions that are being cleaned up in this review and I think that is very important. Liquor licensing law is an area that constantly needs to be reviewed and reformed because the hospitality industry more broadly across South Australia is a huge employer of South Australians. There are some aspects that concern me at the moment and are talked about in the general sphere, and that is around smoking in outdoor areas in hotels. There are some people who believe we should further restrict smoking in outdoor areas in hotels.
My personal view is that the rules that are in place at the moment are adequate and that the status quo should remain. If a patron wants to eat a meal in a designated smoking area and only they are in that area and the staff of the hotel do not need to go into that outdoor smoking area, then I think that is an acceptable rule. Many hotels and outdoor licensed venues spent a considerable amount of capital investment in recent years to comply with the current smoking regulations. I believe any change to the current regulations would be to the detriment of the industry and a lot of small business operators in South Australia.
Another thing I think we need to look at long term is the late-night liquor code as it applies to, predominantly, Hindley Street, and around the lockout laws, consumer choice and the discrepancy in terms of the serving of alcohol at certain times, such as serving alcohol in a glass or plastic cup. It is some of the silly rules where you cannot stand up in an outdoor area to have a beer that I find absolutely outrageous. If, after I have just enjoyed a Crows' victory against Hawthorn for example (as I hope we will this Saturday night), I wander down to Hindley Street at 12.01 on the way home, I would appreciate being able to stand up to enjoy my alcoholic beverage or my soda water—and it does not matter if it is a soda water, the same rules apply.
Under the previous government, as part of its small bar reforms and that of the liquor code, I think we went too far in some practices, and I would hate South Australia, in the long run, to go down the path Sydney has with its laneway liquor code which, essentially, has not dealt with the problems but pushed them into other areas. When we look at licensing and at issues around behaviour, intoxication and antisocial behaviour we have to look at those issues, not necessarily at where they occur. That is very important. Those are two issues of concern to me.
I am very envious of the member for Morphett for his rap of the card in terms of the wonderful liquor venues and public areas in his electorate. I would like to say that in the electorate of Waite there are, equally, some fantastic small business operators and family-run businesses that provide fantastic entertainment and food and beverage services. I know they follow this review, and they followed the Anderson review, very closely; it is certainly a matter of interest to them.
Some of my fantastic venues include The Duck Inn at Coromandel Valley. The member for Gibson is a big fan of The Duck Inn. They have wonderful meals, especially on a Thursday and Saturday night and are always packed out. It is run by the very successful Saturno family, who are wonderful employers of South Australians right across the board.
There is the Belair Hotel, which actually began as a Temperance Union venue many years ago, which is quite ironic. It has been a pub for the last 100 years or so and is one of the older licensed venues up my way. There is the Matthews Group and, of course, Chris Codling, who does a great job at The Ed, which has one the best beer gardens in South Australia. I know the Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing would have loved going to The Ed on Tuesday nights. There is the Torrens Arms Hotel, magnificently run by the Hurley Group, which is also a great venue in my electorate.
Whether it is Celebrations or Belair Fine Wines, they are great supporters of South Australian produce, South Australian wine and beer. More importantly, they are great supporters of South Australian jobs, and one thing we on this side of the house care about so much—which was evident again in question time today—is jobs. We care about getting the balance right, and we cannot have a hospitality industry if we cannot employ young people. For so many people, it is how they get their foot into the job market. My first job was at a licensed venue; it was the Dom Polski Centre where I was a glassy. For my sins, I remember working the 1999 New Year's Eve at the Dom Polski Centre, which was awful because I would rather—
An honourable member interjecting:
Mr DULUK: I was about seven years old, and I was a glassy at the Dom Polski Centre. However, for so many people I know that is how they entered the workforce. Whether it is pulling beers, working as a glassy or working in the kitchen, those skills you learn—
The Hon. D.G. Pisoni interjecting:
Mr DULUK: Unfortunately, I could not become an apprentice like the Minister for Industry and Skills, but it is a wonderful entrance into the workforce and for so many people it becomes their career—the trades and apprenticeships that are offered through hospitality.
Of course, so many of those jobs are in our hospitality industry, in our clubs, pubs and licensed venues. The opportunity they provide, the employment they provide, ensures that governments of all persuasions—and I am glad we are doing it on this side—constantly look at reviewing licensing conditions to ensure we have a well-regulated and well-supported industry in South Australia.