LIQUOR LICENSING (SMALL VENUE LICENCE) AMENDMENT BILL

Legislative Council Wednesday 27 7, 2016

Private Members Business

Bills

LIQUOR LICENSING (SMALL VENUE LICENCE) AMENDMENT BILL

Introduction and First Reading

                The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:11):  Introduced a bill for an act to amend the Liquor Licensing Act 1997. Read a first time.

Second Reading  

THE Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:12):  I move:

                  That this bill be now read a second time.

I rise today to introduce this bill, which amends provisions around the small venues licence within the Liquor Licensing Act. Members would be well aware that when we debated the small venues provisions, now in the Liquor Licensing Act—or small bars as they are more colloquially known— there was a lot of wistful hope that the small bars would not just be in the CBD and just within the confines of North, South, East and West terraces of our capital city. Indeed, I remember the member for Schubert hoping that there would be one small bar, or perhaps a few small bars, in the Barossa sometime soon. The member for Morphett thought Glenelg would be a wonderful place for some small bars, and so it went on in the debate, both here and in the other place.

 This small venues provision, currently in the Liquor Licensing Act, was introduced with the criteria that these particular venues would, by virtue of their smallness of size (with a capacity of 120 or fewer patrons), be freed from red tape, most particularly around entertainment consent. It was to establish a streamlined process for young entrepreneurs, old entrepreneurs, any entrepreneurs, to embrace and enter the small bar market and create diverse and lively spots for South Australians to enjoy.

 For the first year of that legislation, they were to be in the CBD only and, as I said, between North, South, East and West terraces. Beyond that particular year, there was a provision in the bill, which then became part of the act, that the minister could allow for the prescribed areas for these small venue licences or small bars to proliferate and to bloom a thousand flowers across our state.

 We recently had the announcement from minister Rau that these small bars, currently confined between North, South, East and West terraces are moving beyond North Terrace at long last; they are going all the way to North Adelaide, and no further. Yet, we know that the LGA, the Local Government Association, has been lobbying the minister for small bars across our state.

 So my bill today takes control of that decision about where these small venue licences can be, where small bars in South Australia can be, out of the hands of minister Rau and gives councils that power to put up their hand to have small bars in their localities. As we know, there are seven Weatherill state government priorities. We boast about them and we hear about them ad nauseam. Two of these are premium food and wine from our clean environment and creating a vibrant city. Both are embodied in our fantastic small bar culture.

 The exciting and innovative small bar scene has seen the rise of local gin distilleries, late night gourmet cheese platters and, best of all, a place to quietly chat without a noisy happy hour and a heinous cover band playing Jessie's Girl. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

 All that great food and wine, or gin, in this vibrant small bar culture sadly still begins and ends in our CBD only. Does it really benefit our state to keep all that great boutique bar vibrancy from spilling beyond the Parklands? I, for one, do not think it does. Why should punters on Peel Street have better access to a deconstructed Chambord cocktail than might hipsters in O'Halloran Hill?

 In fact, there have been 73 of this new category of small venue licence in operation since they started in 2013, and they are all currently in the CBD. While that is culturally welcomed, it is also a great economic boost. In a report commissioned by Renewal SA in 2015, it was found that the then 51 CBD-based small bars were already employing over 400 people and had generated more than $49.3 million in economic activity.

 If you take a walk down any of Adelaide's new laneways you can see for yourself the positive effects the changes have had, yet it stops short at the Parklands, and the state government is slow to share these benefits beyond those Parklands. A small venue licence allows for entrepreneurs to set up a diverse range of lovely, often hipster, venues by cutting the red tape, as long as they keep it small—under 120 people small.

 A small venue licence allows the culture of beards, breadboards and drinking from jam jars to proliferate, but it should proliferate well beyond the city, from Norwood to Newton, Prospect to Pooraka, Seacombe to Seaton. The people are calling for small bars, and it is their shout, if you will.

One of the great parts of the red tape removal was the repealing of the archaic entertainment consent rule, which not only governed where we could listen to music but what genre of music we could listen to in our licensed premises. Few would believe, if they had not seen it for themselves, that we used to have liquor licensing rules that dictated that you could play jazz but not country, that you could play art rock but not grunge, in a venue.

 These rules were crushing the will of those who would provide both liquor and live music in our vibrant state, and the small venue licence was part of the removal of that red tape. Thanks to the new rules, we have dozens of new venues that are hosting live music, and we can enjoy an acoustic set with an aperitif. That is a great step forward for the city centre, but there is still a government sanctioned, hipster-proof fence that starts at the Parklands. It does not have to be this way; we can bring down that hipster-proof wall.

 Since early 2014 minister Rau has had the power to extend these licences beyond those initial CBD limits, but he has failed to do so. That is one small step that we should be taking from this council. As I mentioned, minister Rau in recent weeks has announced that we are going to move these small venue licences beyond the confines of North Terrace, as far as North Adelaide. That is a step that is far too small. That one small step for Chairman Rau is one giant lost opportunity for the rest of the state, and we are waiting for the cultural revolution to reach the rest of the state.

 Why can we not extend the vibe that has revolutionised those once sleepy CBD laneways to the outer suburban high streets, the winding pathways of the Hills and, indeed, the Barossa as the member for Schubert at the time (Ivan Venning) had assumed that piece of legislation would do? Why can we not give our local entrepreneurs a chance to build the hipster bar of their hipster dreams and call it something hipster—like Salami, or Epic, or Kale Korner—and why can they not do that in Hindmarsh? Why can we not have quinoa cocktails in Colonel Light Gardens, or freshly foraged, verified vegan, artisanal organics in Athelstone?

 That is why I am introducing this private member's bill today, because I want to show Chairman Rau (as one wag referred to him) that the hipster-proof fence needs to come down. The cultural revolution of the small bars should be extended to the whole of our state. It may be a vibrant city that this government wants to see, but it should not be at the expense of the rest of the state. The lumbersexuals of Lobethal might enjoy some tapas and sangria closer to home over in Stirling, or perhaps we would like to toast the man buns of Mannum with some boutique brews in Birdwood. I think we would all drink to that, and I look forward to the debate on this bill.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens.

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