SYDNEY JUNCTION SCORES IN SUPREME COURT OVER TRADING HOURS CUT

In News & Releases by Clyde Mooney

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The Supreme Court has overturned a ruling by ILGA on reducing the trading hours at the Sydney Junction Hotel, sending the Commissioner’s request to do so back for reconsideration.

Following an increase in the incident count at the Sydney Junction (SJH), police petitioned the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) to revoke the Hotel’s late trading licence, forcing it close at midnight Monday to Saturday, back from 3am, and 10pm on Sunday.

Three rounds of submissions on the matter were allowed and made by the Hotel and police, and ILGA cited the possibility the Hotel’s extended trading authority (ETA) may be varied rather than revoked.

Finally, in June of this year the Authority elected to not grant the police application, but instead exercise its statutory power to vary the ETA, effectively ‘splitting the difference’ and issuing Notice for the SJH to close at 1:30am from 1 July.

The Hotel’s owner Campbell Rogers and licensee Ross Boland challenged ILGA’s decision on the basis that the Authority had denied them “procedural fairness” by not allowing them to submit arguments on the variation.

Furthermore, a future ‘merits’ review before NCAT may turn on whether the reduction of hours had been a result of ILGA’s doing or an application by the commissioner.

In a technical decision concerning an untested provision of the Liquor Act, the Supreme Court found ILGA’s final consultation fell short of its procedural requirements under the Act, and this week set aside the alteration in the ETA.

In the immediate future the SJH will be able to continue trade until 3am, but the matter is not yet finalised.

“The Authority will now consider whether to appeal the ruling or make a fresh decision on the police application,” a spokesperson for ILGA replied to PubTIC’s questioning on the status of the matter.

This determination will need to go before the ILGA board, and is likely to take as long as several months.

Unless the parties approach within a week of the decision, the Commissioner of Police is to bear costs for Rogers and Boland, as agreed or assessed.

Campbell Rogers declined to comment on the ongoing issue.