The West

Restaurant owner wants more liquor regulation
Scott Taylor, owner of The Trustee, Perth. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

More relaxed rules backed up by massive fines would strike a balance when recasting laws for licensed restaurants and small bars according to hospitality industry leader Scott Taylor.

Mr Taylor, owner of The Trustee in the city and Beaufort Street Merchant in Mt Lawley, said the recommendations of the review into alcohol rules in WA had mostly been good for the restaurant sector, but had missed "obvious opportunities".

"The recommendation allowing all licensed restaurants to serve alcohol without food is one hundred per cent appropriate," Mr Taylor said.

The relaxation of the rules require a restaurant's kitchen to be open whenever liquor is sold. Mr Taylor said the rules should be relaxed even further.

"A more deregulated regime backed up by huge fines would ensure restaurant and small bar operators keep an eye on patrons' consumption and behaviour," he said. "The fear of big fines would have a galvanising effect.

"I've never had even a warning in 8 1/2 years of owning licensed premises, but I'd be happy to pay a twenty or thirty thousand dollar fine, if we slipped up."

In response to recommendations that bigger venues be levied extra licensing fees based on their floor area, Mr Taylor said: "The burden of cost should be on those licensees who flout the law, not those who are the biggest.

"I don't understand what such a move would achieve."

Mr Taylor said the impact any law changes would have on the creation of a vibrant CBD culture had to be considered.

"I think the recommendations might have missed that opportunity," he said.

Although Mr Taylor said that despite reservations the restaurant sector had generally accepted the recommendations that specifically affect it, he was scathing about the small bar proposals in the report.

"For (the review) committee to release the report with effectively no change to small bar licensing laws borders on laughable," Mr Taylor said. "Extending trading hours for small bars is just so blazingly obvious - 10pm on a Sunday? It's ridiculous. I'm on the cusp of creating another venue and I'm now actively looking over east and overseas."

The West Australian

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