13 May 2016
Canberra Business Chamber (CBC) welcomes the White Paper and notes that the recommendations offer a number of improvements to the regulatory environment. CBC notes that the introduction of the ACT Government Liquor Act 2010 has seen improvements regarding alcohol-related violence and anti-social behavior across the ACT.
CBC supports the proposed liquor reforms aimed at promoting a vibrant liquor and hospitality sector and reduce the regulatory burden faced by businesses (Part 2 of the White Paper). However, there is a concern that reducing the regulatory burden on the smaller type restaurant and café license class and increasing the license fees on other parts of the hospitality sector will fundamentally affect the market.
Furthermore, it is likely that the licensing fee structures will significantly reduce the operating hours and likely number of bars, nightclubs and clubs operating between the hours of 12:00 am to 6:00 am and increase the pricing of alcoholic beverages. This would in turn impact on the ACT’s music industry by reducing opportunities for Canberra’s Bands and DJ’s.
A concern is that the changes may displace businesses and have a number of unintended consequences. This situation could potentially see the ACTs’ late night economy decline while the negative impacts of alcohol related violence remain or even increase.
CBC notes that the views of the 18 to 25 year old population do not appear to be reflected in the White Paper and urges the ACT Government to consult with this demographic.
CBC believes that given the potential impacts on business in Canberra, any resulting reforms be subject to a cost benefit analysis, that takes into account not only the economic benefits but weighs up the business costs against the social benefits driving the reforms.
I welcome the opportunity to elaborate further on these comments.
Chief Executive Officer