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More metal detectors, CCTV as late night code tightens

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Late night venues will face tighter restrictions on alcohol service from Monday, with the provision of metal detectors and CCTV to be expanded, but the minister responsible insists pub patrons “won’t notice too much of a difference”.

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Consumer and Business Services Minister John Rau has tightened up several provisions in his controversial late-night code, with many of the regulations introduced in 2013 set to come into force earlier in the evening from next week.

The service of free drinks, which had been barred from 4am, will now cease from midnight, and will apply to more venues.

Queue management and the provision of drink marshals and first aid officers will also kick in from midnight for venues trading past 2am, while restrictions on the supply of liquor on footpaths and outdoor areas, and of shooters, test tubes and similar “beverages that promote rapid or excessive consumption” have also been brought forward.

Service of drinks that contain more than 45ml of spirits, previously banned after 3am, will now cease from 2am.

Metal detectors will be in force from midnight for venues that trade past 3am, which will also have to operate CCTV cameras at all times.

Those same venues will be banned from selling drinks in glassware from 3am; it was previously restricted from 4am.

Australian Hotels Association SA general manager Ian Horne says the changes were not as severe as those recommended by last year’s independent review, after protracted negotiations between his industry and the Government.

“After what became a particularly painful and protracted process, the outcome is something everyone can live with,” he said.

Horne argues the original intent to impose metal detectors, CCTV and the glassware ban on venues that traded past 2am would have forced several east end pubs into early closure, but the compromise effectively restricts the most onerous changes to late-night venues in the CBD’s “entertainment precinct”, along Hindley St, North Tce and parts of Currie St and Light Square.

“From that outcome, we’re quite comfortable with it,” he said.

“For all those [east end] venues, life goes on as normal… because they were never part of the problem.”

Horne said the casino’s ongoing exemption to the code “remains a problem for most operators in terms of perceptions of fairness”.

Rau says his office has been working with licensed venues “to make sure they understand and are prepared for the new requirements”.

“The changes mostly affect licensees who will be required to implement safety measures that already exist under the code, but at a slightly earlier hour,” he said.

“These changes are the result of much consultation and deliberative feedback and I am confident they strike the right balance for a fun and safe night out… venue-goers will not notice too much of a difference.”

It comes as submissions for an independent review of SA liquor laws close today, with Rau “strongly encouraging” industry and community stakeholders to provide feedback.

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