New liquor licences making Ballarat safer

EXCITED FOR CHANGE: Holy Smokes BBQ owner Ben Kulman is happy his restaurant was approved for a liquor licence. Picture: Kate Healy

EXCITED FOR CHANGE: Holy Smokes BBQ owner Ben Kulman is happy his restaurant was approved for a liquor licence. Picture: Kate Healy

Granting more liquor licences to certain venues will help improve Ballarat CBD safety and vitality, according to business and councillors.

Sturt Street eatery Holy Smoke BBQ was the latest eatery to be granted a nighttime liquor licence this week. It follows a revitalisation of streets like Armstrong Street and parts of Sturt Street where hospitality has become the key draw card.

Ballarat Commerce CEO, Jodie Gillett said someone could go on a rampage in other cities because they are so quiet at night

But in Ballarat bringing more patrons into a cafe and restaurant precinct would ensure its future safety and prosperity.

“I was in another town at nine o’clock at night in February and there was not a soul on the street,” she said.

“It was scary. I could go on a rampage on the street and no one would know. In Ballarat that’s not a problem.”

Leading Senior Constable, Des Hudson said the reason for this was natural surveillance. The theory is people are less likely to commit crimes when there are others around, keeping an eye on them. It encourages open and social spaces to keep people safe.

Cr Hudson, who is also a Ballarat City councillor, does not believe the consumption of alcohol in the precinct will lead to dangerous behaviour from diners.

He compares it to football games at the MCG where 90 thousand people socialise together and consume alcohol.

“It’s a family-friendly atmosphere. People are largely lawful,” he said.

“Holy Smokes BBQ is an example of a venue families can go to and enjoy a responsible drink in a safe environment”, Cr Hudson said.

The restaurant, which sells American-style barbecue has been running for almost a year and before now only had a BYO licence.

Restaurant owner, Ben Kulman said the licence would not make the restaurant a venue for heavy drinking and instead it was just an auxiliary to the meal.

“Food brings people together and it’s great that our customers can now enjoy a drink with their food,” he said.

Kulman also said the licence might allow him to employ more staff members from the local community because of the increase in trade. 

Conditions of the liquor licence include an 11pm curfew and a maximum of 37 patrons on the premises.