Liquor Control Reform Amendment (Party Buses) Bill

Posted on 08. Dec, 2009 in Speeches

I welcome this bill as it is a very important measure in dealing with alcohol-fuelled violence in entertainment areas such as nightclubs. There is nothing wrong with a night out on the town with mates and drinking in moderation. Indeed one would have thought taking a bus rather than your own car when out on the town for the night, especially when alcohol is involved, was the right move, but there are some yobs who are so stupid, so obnoxious, so selfish and so drunk that they will find a way to spoil the party.

The incident that led to this bill occurred in August when a drunk yob at a buck’s party on a party bus left a police officer with a broken jaw. As a government and a Parliament we have an obligation to protect those who protect us. We also have an obligation to protect the general public, including those who enjoy going clubbing without causing harm to themselves or offence to others.

The bill does not affect other types of bus trips such as winery and shopping tours. It targets those party buses in entertainment precincts where some of the participants not only engage in binge drinking but then go looking for trouble. On many of these party buses the operators do not supply alcohol but the passengers themselves bring alcohol on board with them and consume it on the bus.

This bill targets this area by amending the Liquor Control Reform Amendment Act 1998 and creating a new power for the director of liquor licensing to issue a BYO (bring-your-own) permit in respect of a party bus. The bill also makes changes to the offence provisions of the act in respect of a party bus operator. The effect of this amendment is that the operator of a party bus will be subject to existing regulatory controls, whether in respect of a licence or BYO permit, including various existing offence provisions.

A new offence is created of a party bus operator permitting liquor to be consumed on the party bus in proscribed circumstances, attracting a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units. A party bus in respect of which a licence or BYO permit applies will be deemed a public place for the purposes of the Summary Offences Act 1966. Consequently, a drunk or disorderly passenger aboard a party bus will still be liable under that act.

This bill is a measured response to binge drinking on party buses, particularly in the entertainment precincts. I commend the bill to the house.

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