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Review every city liquor licence: candidate

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Adelaide City Council candidate and city publican Gareth Lewis wants a full review of every liquor licence in the CBD.

Lewis, who owns and operates three city bars, said many city businesses have expressed concern to him over “absurdities and dated conditions” attached to their liquor licences.

One of Lewis’s own businesses, he told InDaily, is required by licence conditions to mop the front step of a building across the road once a week.

Another of his bars is required to keep all windows shut when music is playing, despite being located on King William Street.

Lewis said the review would have to be a cooperative effort by the State Government and Adelaide City Council.

“It would literally take going through … each one of the licences and asking (business owners) what they hope to change,” he said.

“I can’t see it taking more than six months.”

Lewis said he would abstain from any vote at the council which would affect his business interests, if he were to succeed at next month’s elections.

The proposal to review all city liquor licences has the support of mayoral candidates Martin Haese and Kelly Henderson.

Haese said it would be an ideal time to assess, in particular, how small bar licencing legislation has impacted the city since it came into effect last year.

“A review to check in and quantify what the effect of all this has been would probably be timely,” he said.

“It’s about finding the balance between live music venues and residential densities.”

Haese rejected yesterday’s proposal by the West End Association that entertainment consent should be removed as a requirement on all licensed venues in the city in order to boost the live music and entertainment scene.

“I don’t think it should be a blanket over the entire city of Adelaide; I think it needs to be a street-by-street basis and a venue-by-venue basis,” Haese said.

“I still think there needs to be some checks and balances, absolutely.

“The live music and entertainment we have in the city is a good thing, but you’ve got to respect the residents.”

Haese said opening up small bar licences had improved the city’s vibrancy, but warned that more and more people would have to be attracted into the city to ensure small bars are sustainable.

“I just want us to be mindful of supply not wildly outreaching demand,” he said.

Henderson told InDaily in a statement: “I believe the community would welcome a comprehensive review of liquor licensing that addresses concerns raised by the community and the Law Society of South Australia, along with reduction of alcohol-related violence and burdens on businesses.”

She pointed to this submission by the Law Society as the most sensible manifesto of proposals for liquor licensing in the city.

The submission questions the scale of the liquor licensing changes which would later pass parliament, and suggests the interests of residents should be given more weight.

Fellow mayoral candidate Michael Henningsen rejected the need for a comprehensive review of the city’s liquor licenses, saying only the oldest licences in the city should be reviewed by the council.

“There are a number of them that are really quite old and historical. They could be assessed,” he said.

“A lot of them go back to more than 100 years.

“I think that we’ve got the balance about right at the moment.”

InDaily contacted mayoral candidate Mark Hamilton but he did not respond by deadline.

Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood, who is standing for re-election, declined to comment.

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