RISK-BASED liquor licence fees are an excellent way to remind both publicans and their patrons that there are consequences for failing to curb alcohol related violence.
A spokesman for Orange venues which belong to the city liquor accord has foreshadowed cutbacks to sporting club sponsorships if violent behaviour puts a pub in the spotlight and its licence fees rise as a result following new rules from July 1.
This does put sporting clubs on notice that the behaviour of players and supporters could cost them dearly, which is a good thing, but it also raises the spectre of sporting clubs being punished unfairly.
Football or cricket club officials that allow its players and supporters to drink too much and cause a publican grief will quickly wear out its welcome and its sponsorship.
It seems unlikely that sportsmen and women, drinking in their local after playing a game with that hotel’s name emblazoned on their jersey are going to be the main offenders.
What seems far more likely is that late night drinkers with no real association with either a club or a particular venue are going to be the troublemakers.
These are the patrons that no responsible venue should want.
They require hotel security and bar staff to be on their toes or risk being added to the dangerous venue list and, from July 1, seeing their licensing fees rise dramatically.
A meeting between the Orange Liquor Accord members and sporting club officials would certainly help reinforce the responsibility of club members but the club officials would be entitled to ask who really are the serial offenders and what are pubs doing about them?
The introduction of the risk-based fee structure should be part of the answer.
If the NSW government does raise extra revenue from the licencing change it should pour that money back into licencing inspectors.
The public is crying out for an end to alcohol- fuelled violence.
As long as the licence changes are well targeted and not simply a revenue raising exercise they should be well received.