York hotel fears size will be costly

Nicky Worthing outside the The Castle Hotel in York. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

The licensee of a rambling York hotel says she could have to close if bigger venues are made to pay extra licensing fees as recommended in WA's liquor review.

Nicky Worthing, who has run the family-owned Castle Hotel in the centre of the Avon Valley town for 11 years, said about 150 people came in on a good day and about 50 people on an average day.

The review recommends bigger, riskier licensed premises pay more in licence fees than smaller, less-risky venues. It proposes that premises bigger than 200sqm pay an extra $10 a square metre. Ms Worthing estimated the Castle's licensed area, which includes a bar, bistro, beer garden, bottle shop, motel and pool area, would add up to about 4000sqm.

"In the country is there anywhere that is 200sqm," she said. "We don't have the turnover to cope with another tax. Just because of our size, it isn't fair."

Ms Worthing said there had been only two significant incidents at the hotel in 11 years and did not believe it should be deemed high risk.

"The majority of people that come to the hotel come for dinner - families with children," she said. "We are a country pub and we endeavour to make ourselves the hub of the community."

Another potential impact on country pubs is the review committee's recommendation that their protection from liquor stores on Sundays be abolished.

Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said linking a venue's size to alcohol risks and levels of violence was simplistic. He said if big venues had to be classed high risk, it would lead to unfair taxes on well-run, professional venues and historic country pubs.