THE noose is tightening on the 160-plus pubs, restaurants and sporting clubs which refuse to sign up to the Albury Liquor Accord.
The accord and Albury Council will lodge submissions this week to the NSW government’s review of the 2007 Liquor Act with both taking strong stances on mandatory membership of liquor accords.
Albury police is also expected to support the stance when the review will be tabled in the NSW Parliament on December 13.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show an average decrease of 24.3 per cent a year over the past five years in alcohol-related crime in the Albury Local Government Area which includes the Dean Street pubs and clubs strip.
But, the accord is frustrated by the refusal of some liquor licence holders to join the accord.
Cr Daryl Betteridge, who is the accord chairman, was given the chance to read the organisation’s submission to the review during the council meeting on Monday when he described the council and the accord as being “in-sync” on mandatory membership.
“The support of this legislative change will allow continued growth, financial viability and united support of harm minimisation strategies,” he said.
“Responsibility has fallen to a concerned few who have been asked to do too much for too long.
“We espouse the concept that all those who sell alcohol in some way contribute to the alcohol-related issues that can arise from that sale.
“A financial contribution in the way of an annual registration fee designated by the authority based on the size of the venue or volume of sales, we believe would lead to a greater participation in and value adding of the significance of accords across the state.”
The Albury Council’s position is equally as strong.
“All businesses licensed to sell alcohol should be mandatorily required to join and support the local liquor accord and take responsibility for harm minimisation strategies which are within their ability to influence in their local area,” its submission stated.
Cr Henk van de Ven, Albury Harness Racing Club’s representative on the accord, said compulsory membership was the biggest issue.
“For places like Albury if we don’t get mandatory membership I think to a certain extent we are wasting our time.”