Clancy's boss decries liquor plan

Clancy's Fish Pub owner Joe Fisher. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian.

Joe Fisher describes it as broad brush reaction to an issue only relevant for a minority in the hospitality industry.

Standing in Clancy's Fish Pub City Beach, the co-owner of the chain, which has venues in Dunsborough, Applecross and Fremantle, says his business's situation highlights just how ill-thought it is.

In what has dominated chatter in the hospitality industry since its was announced last week, Mr Fisher is referring to the WA's liquor review recommendation proposing premises bigger than 200sqm pay an extra $10/sqm for their liquor licences.

"For example, City Beach is exempt, as it's under a restaurant licence, but the Dunsborough and Freo venues will be affected, as they're under a tavern licence, but Canning Bridge (Applecross) is probably too small," Mr Fisher said. "It's not the monetary concern, it's more the principle of the thing. It's a broad brush approach that implies all big venues are causing problems.

"Why should everyone in the industry be penalised for the actions of a few?

"If anything, venues that are responsible for the problems should be penalised. And the venues that provide nothing but a good service should be rewarded with smaller fees."

The sentiment was echoed by Colonial Leisure Group WA State manager Vern Fogarty.

The Colonial group runs the Raffles Hotel, Royal Hotel and Print Hall, with Mr Fogarty estimating the $10/sqm fee could result in a $25,000 to $30,000 annual charge for the Print Hall.

"The entire industry has been trying to wind back red tape," Mr Fogarty said. "But here we've potentially got more taxes on venues to make operating more difficult. If they were looking at a venue's trading history or records of infringements, then I would understand it."

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods said he had been inundated with calls over the past week from business owners "appalled" that the proposal could even reach the light of day.

"It's one of the more absurd recommendations we have seen in the past 20 years," Mr Woods said. "To label a venue 'high-risk' simply because of how many square metres it is, is simply wrong."