Sporting, ethnic and returned servicemen's clubs across WA would open their bars to tourists under a bold liquor licensing shake-up designed to guarantee the future of the humble community club and stimulate tourism.
Clubs WA, the peak body representing 979 licensed WA clubs, says many of the community institutions are running on borrowed time amid a rising tide of costs and red tape and they need to diversify.
Currently, tourists who wander into community clubs, for example fishing clubs on WA's picturesque waterfronts, are not permitted to drink there unless they are a guest of a member.
Clubs WA chief Peter Seaman said yesterday that members often agreed to spontaneously "host" tourists but if the member left, the visitors would technically be drinking illegally.
Clubs WA wants holidaymakers and business travellers with identification showing they left their home more than 40km away for at least a night to be allowed to drink in clubs that choose to tap into this potential revenue stream.
Mr Seaman was disappointed the formal request was not recommended in January's review of the Liquor Control Act, despite similar laws interstate.
Another plea to drop red tape banning clubs from serving non-members or guests at community functions, such as school P and C and charity events, also fell on deaf ears.
The tourism request has the support of the Tourism Council industry body, while Tourism WA's liquor review submission said the Act should "provide a variety of venues and entertainment options for visitors".
Mr Seaman said WA's clubs were at risk if the Government did not adopt the requests in its liquor reforms.
The group, representing more than 20 per cent of WA's 4500 licensed premises, deserved to be taken seriously, he said. "The risk is a continuation of what's already happening - some clubs are closing down," he said. Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said clubs were often at the centre of great cultural, natural and sporting events and should be permitted to advertise drink and meal specials to attract tourists.
A spokeswoman for Racing, Gaming and Liquor Minister Terry Waldron said he would not comment while the Government's response to the review was being prepared.