More licensed venues sign to liquor accord

FOUR new licensed venues have signed up to the Ballarat Liquor Accord, as the agreement begins to stretch its boundaries beyond the immediate Ballarat CBD.

As part of a revamp of the accord at Ballarat Town Hall yesterday, licensees from more than a dozen Ballarat nightspots joined to renew their pledge towards maintaining safety in Ballarat’s streets and nightspots.

It comes as a national push for more stringent policing of licensed venues and activities gains momentum. A series of incidents, including deaths, of people from one-punch incidents fuelled by alcohol around the nation is

central to public concern.

Ballarat Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said since the last meeting, a further four venues had signed on to the accord. They are the Western Hotel (Sturt Street), Red Lion Hotel (Main Road), Miners Tavern (Lydiard Street) and Freight Bar and Restaurant (Mair Street).

The accord, which includes a 2.30am lockout and no shots served after 1am, has also modified its process of banning patrons from venues.

Under the altered voluntary agreement, a patron who is banned from accord venues will have the right to appeal the banning in front of a panel of accord members.

“We’ve always had the rule where if you are banned from one venue, you are are banned from all of them,” Inspector Thomas said. “This alteration means people can plead their case if they feel the decision is not fair.”

Inspector Thomas said a previous plan to introduce a secondary liquor accord for licensed venues outside the CBD was unlikely to be introduced, with all hotels now able to sign on to the existing accord.

“It’s a new era for the accord,” he said.

Also present at the meeting, Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation education officer Anna Lygopoulos said Ballarat venues were clearly keen to get on the front foot to help improve late night behaviour in the city.

“It’s very proactive (in Ballarat) and the message to the community that the anti-social behaviour is not tolerated is really clear,” she said.

“It’s been supported by the police really well and seems to be making a genuine difference.”

The Ballarat Liquor Accord was first introduced in April, 2010.

patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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