View Comments
Hit pub drunks with stiffer fines
Pay the price: The hotels industry wants drunks to be hit with big fines. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Drinkers would be hit with thousands of dollars in fines for being drunk and disorderly in a hotel or pub under an industry proposal aimed at deterring bad behaviour.

The Australian Hotels Association of WA wants patrons to face penalties in line with those for licensees for allowing drunk, violent, indecent or quarrelsome behaviour in a venue.

A licensee or manager who allows such behaviour can be fined up to $10,000 under the Liquor Control Act but the person responsible would not necessarily be fined.

Under the Act, they can be fined only if they were asked to leave and did not, though they could be guilty of a criminal offence depending on their behaviour. The AHA, which made the submission to the State Government's review of WA liquor laws, is not alone in calling for individuals to take more responsibility for drinking behaviour.

The WA Police submission recommended making it an offence to be drunk in pubs, clubs and restaurants.

The review is expected to be completed this month.

AHA (WA) chief executive Bradley Woods said the proposal was to prevent rather than punish bad behaviour.

"There needs to be a deterrent," he said.

"At the moment the law is entirely focused on infringing or fining the licensee.

"So whenever an offence occurs that has been brought about by the act of a patron who's deliberately engaged in something, we're looking at substantial penalties for those that have deliberately behaved in a way that's caused (a breach of the act).

"It balances out the equation of responsibility.

"If there's going to be real social change, there has to be mutual obligation."

The AHA recommends changing the Act to specify it is an offence for patrons to be drunk, violent, quarrelsome, disorderly or indecent in licensed premises.

Adult offenders would face similar penalties to those imposed on licensees or managers.

Juvenile offenders would face mandatory attendance at an alcohol education program.

Liquor Minister Terry Waldron said 149 submissions were received for the review.