City calls for autonomy on liquor

Portrait of bride and groom by church
Portrait of bride and groom by church

As the City remains in a drawn-out legal battle with the iBar, formerly Vibe Nightclub and Zelda’s Nightclub, its submission is scathing of the Commission and Licensing Authority’s handling of liquor issues.

The comments from the City’s acting director of planning and development services, Brett Ashby, were tabled at Monday’s planning services committee meeting.

The comments were not considered by the council.

In the submission, Mr Ashby said that over the past 25 years the City had experienced ‘major problems’ with the operation of the two nightclubs that had escalated in the past three to four years.

‘The LA (Licensing Authority), at times has been obstructive in the City’s attempts to resolve this problem,’ he said.

‘For 25 years the LA has been impotent in dealing with this serious situation.’

The submission mentions anti-social behaviour around the Kent Street premises, including the ‘savage’ assault on a man in March last year.

The City wants amendments to part of the Act to allow local authorities ‘greater input’ into the LA’s decision-making process and greater powers like those of the Commissioner of Police.

‘It is the City that is the gatekeeper and needs these broad powers to properly perform its duties in providing for the safety, welfare and health of a community,’ Mr Ashby said.

The City also wants the commission replaced by a section of the State Administrative Tribunal to deal with liquor licensing.

‘Very often licensing and planning issues overlap’