Hamilton lockouts to stay

RESTRICTIONS on the late-night sale of alcohol and a 1am lockout on weekends will remain in place indefinitely at Hamilton hotels as a matter of ‘‘public interest’’.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has ruled the strict trading conditions will stay for the Northern Star, Gateway, Hamilton Station, Kent, Exchange and Sydney Junction hotels.

To read the Herald’s opinion, click here.

In a decision revealed yesterday, authority chairman Chris Sidoti said there was a ‘‘reasonable basis’’ for continuing to impose the conditions on those six pub licences.

Shots, most pre-mixed drinks and drinks with more than one nip of spirits or liqueurs would continue to be banned after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and venues would still have to turn away punters at 1am on Saturdays and Sundays.

The ruling followed a review of the authority’s initial decision in 2010 to impose the restrictions for 15 months, which were temporarily extended in November.

Police proposed the conditions be made permanent with only minor changes, arguing similarly to Hunter New England Health that the restrictions should remain to prevent a return of higher levels of alcohol harm.

The authority removed the requirement for hotels to submit monthly reports of ‘‘troublesome’’ patrons to the local liquor accord and the condition that an independent person conduct a compliance audit of the pub plans of management every six months.

Solicitor Paul O’Sullivan, who represented the Northern Star and Hamilton Station hotel licensees, said he would await details before advising his clients on any appeal.

But he said the decision was ‘‘disappointing’’ for the licensees who ‘‘find it curious’’ several conditions imposed in Hamilton were ‘‘far more onerous than those imposed on other precincts which would appear on the face of them to be far more problematic’’.

The state’s most violent venues are subject to 2am lockouts as part of the government’s ‘‘name and shame’’ scheme, compared with Hamilton’s 1am and Newcastle’s 1.30am lockouts.


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