Tough new laws come into effect next week in Tasmania, aimed at reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents in the State.
Starting 1 September there are new rules and penalties for patrons and licensees, most notably the use of ‘Barring Orders’ on trouble-makers.
Tasmania’s Liquor Licensing Act 1990 makes provision for Barring Orders, prohibiting a recipient from entering or remaining on licensed premises for up to six months.
The Orders can be issued by either a licensee or duly authorised police officer, by simply handing it to the individual or sending to their ‘last known place of residence’.
Those issued by police can apply to a specified class of venue, such as all nightclubs in a given area, or simply all licensed premises in that area. They are likely to include a specified distance the individual is expected to maintain from the venue(s) during trading hours.
Police may share information with other premises in the precinct, to assist in the enforcement of area-wide prevention of barred patrons. There is no clarification yet on whether this will require the introduction of specialised equipment such as ID scanners at venues.
Barred patrons found to be in breaching of their Order face fines up to $7,850.
The new laws also place greater responsibility on operators, stipulating their burden to “ensure” that the supply of alcohol is done in “the best interests of the community”. Encouraging the irresponsible consumption of liquor can result in fines up to $3,140.
Police are firmly in favour of the new laws, and Tasmanian Hospitality Association general manager Steve Old reports they are the result of thorough consultation process with industry.
“The new barring orders are a step in the right direction to give more power to police and licensees to deal with the minority who chose to cause trouble in and/or around licensed venues,” he said.
While Tasmania’s entertainment precincts are not as densely populated as many of the other States, it will nevertheless be a challenge for operators to track any significant number of barred patrons.
The Mercury reported this concern by Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey, suggesting the new laws could be “hard to police”.