Split over early pub hours

Daniel Emerson
The Sail And Anchor last weekend when Fremantle Dockers won the Preliminary Final. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Police Minister Liza Harvey had a cool reception to Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan's call to ban pubs from serving alcohol at breakfast time tomorrow, saying she trusted licensees to manage their premises properly.

The split emerged after Mr O'Callaghan criticised Fremantle licensees planning to open as early as 7am to cater for the big crowd expected to cheer on the Dockers.

"I don't see any reason for people to be drinking alcohol from 7am and I'll bet the community doesn't either," he said.

"We have the right sort of police contingencies in place to deal with what might happen on Saturday, but I think in the future we have to think about whether we want to allow licensees to open at 7am.

"We need to change the culture of drinking in WA, particularly the binge drinking. We need to send the right message."

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods said of 14 Fremantle venues surveyed, just three intended to serve alcohol before 10am, the earliest from 8am.

Mr O'Callaghan said he did not have confidence in the industry to regulate itself properly but Mrs Harvey disagreed, predicting Fremantle patrons and publicans would display good behaviour.

"People in Fremantle will take this as an opportunity to say, 'You can give us a little bit of leeway around special events and we will do the right thing'," she said.

Mr O'Callaghan appeared misinformed early opening was confined to Fremantle, suggesting it was an "historical thing" for port shift workers. But every hotel was licenced to open from 6am to midnight.

Mr Woods said Mr O'Callaghan was a "fusspot, party pooper and wet blanket" for criticising a licence condition that had been in force for 40 years.