More booze control advised
More booze control advised

Supplying alcohol to a juvenile without the permission of a parent or guardian would become an offence under the recommendation of a long- awaited review of WA's Liquor Control Act.

Advocacy of so-called secondary supply laws is one of 141 recommendations of the committee aimed at changing WA's drinking culture, including a proposal to increase liquor licensing fees to pay for expanded community education campaigns.

Mixed view on alcohol laws

The committee, chaired by businessman John Atkins, recommends that larger, riskier licensed premises be forced to pay bigger licensing fees than smaller, less-risky venues, including a proposal that premises bigger than 200sqm should pay an extra $10 a square metre.

"This recommendation has been made on the basis the larger a licensed premises is in licensed area, the greater volume of liquor sold from those premises and therefore the greater the total level of harm caused," the report says.

The proposal is bitterly opposed by sections of the hospitality industry, particularly big pubs and taverns, but was welcomed by public health advocates. Hopes from hotel, tavern and small bar owners - and sections of the public - that opening hours might be liberalised were dashed, with the committee recommending only a minor change to Sunday hours that would allow premises to trade until midnight ahead of a Monday public holiday.

Small bars would continue to be allowed to trade only until midnight Monday to Saturday, unless licensees applied for extended trading permits, and hotels, taverns and small bars would continue to close at 10pm on Sundays under the review's recommendations.

The review recommends all restaurants be allowed to serve liquor without a meal to seated patrons from 6am to midnight Monday to Saturday and 10am to 10pm on Sundays as long as the kitchen remains open.

There are extensive recommendations about streamlining the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor's approvals processes, while strengthening the ability of the community, police and health advocates to make submissions supporting and opposing applications.

Mr Atkins said the review had been informed by balancing the public's ability to access alcohol against the potential for harm and the desire of industry participants to carry on their businesses "free from unnecessary regulation and overbearing compliance".

"Further, there has been considerable community concern around juveniles and their access to alcohol," Mr Atkins said. "At the same time, the community have wanted a greater degree of engagement with the process of granting licences."

Under the secondary supply plan, it would be an offence for a person to supply liquor to a juvenile on unlicensed premises unless that person was a parent or guardian, or had the permission of a parent or guardian.

Even if a person had permission, supply of alcohol to the juvenile would have to be consistent with "responsible supervision", including whether the person or the juvenile were "unduly intoxicated", the juvenile's age, whether the liquor was supplied with food, the quantity of liquor supplied and the time period over which it was supplied.

Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron said the Government had not yet considered the review and did not endorse or rule out any of its recommendations. He will conduct another round of consultation meetings before preparing a Cabinet submission containing the Government's response.

The West Australian

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