News around South Australia’s plan to continue its 3am lockouts has largely failed to tell the complete story of the Government’s “disappointing effort at consultation”.

AHA SA CEO Ian Horne told PubTIC the “devil is in the detail” of the proposal, which – rather than involve industry – refers to an online survey of non-patrons to justify back-door increases including metal detectors and other changes that will embroil many more venues.


AHA SA CEO Ian Horne
AHA SA CEO Ian Horne

“The release of the Government’s Review of Codes of Practice, including the Late Night Code, was another sad example of a Government promise to consult broadly then delivering what is effectively an ambush,” says Ian Horne, AHA SA CEO.

“Why? The review undertaken by an ‘Independent Consultancy’ based in the State Government Department of Public Employment and Review recommended that the 3am lockout be retained because the available evidence said it had been effective. Fair enough.

“However, also hidden in the ‘recommendations’ is that certain obligations that have up until now only applied to venues that trade past 3am are to be brought forward to commence from 2am – even when the venue intends to cease trade before the 3 am lockout.

“These obligations include polycarbonate glassware for all venues that trade past 2 am. This change alone will catch literally dozens and dozens of venues across the State that are currently excluded from the code.

“And to make matters worse, if the venue is in the CBD and has a capacity of 200 or more (regardless of how many people are actually there) the operator must have suitably trained staff to operate Liquor & Gaming Commission-approved metal detectors at all entry points – even if the venue has absolutely no history of offences involving concealed weapons or violent events.

“We looked to the ‘Independent Consultancy’ review for the evidence to justify the massive impost and we found a reference to a voluntary on-line survey, where ‘non-patron’ approval for metal detectors was 81 per cent; non-patrons – i.e. people who do not work or never go out to late-night venues?

“Typically, the masters of red tape and bureaucracy – the Adelaide City Council – argued for these additional conditions to commence from 12-midnight, and the social/health lobby argued for even more, smaller venues to be caught. But there was simply no reference to any legitimate research, no analysis of arrest data, or incident analysis.

“So now all venues will be forced to provide polycarbonate drinkware after 2am and CBD venues will need metal detectors, based on an on-line internet poll.

“To complete the insult to CBD venues, those with 200+ capacities must also install a Liquor & Gaming Commission-approved CCTV system, and have it operate at all times whilst open – not just after 2am.

“And of course, the licensee must secure visual recordings for not less than 28 days. All of the above attracts fines and disciplinary action if not complied with completely.

“In a time of supposed red tape reduction, this new proposed code just massively increased compliance, obligations and cost, and further increases the risk of fines, disciplinary action and liability. And of course, as we have come to expect, the Adelaide Casino remains exempt from the lockout.

“This is a punishment applied to all for the apparent sins of a few.”

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