A Byron Bay hotel has been issued infringements for multiple alleged cases of underage drinking during Schoolies week.
The charge is the latest problem for the town’s Liquor Accord, after it was revealed on Tuesday that alcohol-fuelled violence in the Bay has increased by a massive 20 per cent in the last year, despite most parts of the state showing a decline.
The Accord has also earned the wrath of the Police Association over its steadfast refusal to implement Newcastle-style limitations on trading hours, lockouts and high-alcohol drinks.
The group has declined to comment on the infringements, with president Hannah Spalding telling Echonetdaily ‘it is not in the spirit of the Accord to provide information regarding fines or other information of that kind, whether it be relating to an Accord member or not’.
Police have issued the as-yet unnamed pub with fines totalling $13,750 following an investigation into two separate underage incidents that took place during Schoolies week last year.
On November 29 police found a minor inside the venue and on the following day, at the same premises, they spotted another underage youth drinking alcohol.
Police allege that on both occasions there was no security officer at the entrance to the hotel and the minors had walked in unobstructed.
Ms Spalding told Echonetdaily, ‘all licensees are legally required to comply with strict regulations when it comes to underage members of society entering their venues; this is done under OLGR guidelines’.
‘If you look under 25 you will be asked for ID,’ she added.
A separate offence was committed between December 2 and 6 that related to a lapsed security master licence, according to police.
And a further offence that related to the use of a TAB outlet in the hotel has been referred to the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR).
The Accord has held two meetings with OLGR in recent weeks and Ms Spalding said the group ‘has been in almost daily contact with OLGR, working together with them to formulate a list of terms and strategies that the Accord believes will be able to assist with the current issues in Byron Bay’.
‘A full list of terms will be available once they have been finalised,’ she said.
‘We believe that with a united approach from OLGR, local police, licensed venues and council that we will be able to see positive outcomes with solutions that are tailored specifically to our community.’
But acting inspector Saul Wiseman says he is still waiting for a response from the Accord on a list of recommendations he submitted to them in December.
These include introducing a 1am lockout, stopping serving alcohol 30 minutes before closing, imposing restrictions on shots, limiting takeaway sales after 10pm, engaging an RSA marshal during late-night trading, funding a complimentary bus service for patrons and security patrols from midnight to 4am, ensuring violent incidents are always reported to police and not cleaning up crime scenes before police arrive.
The licensee has been issued with four infringement notices:
Licensee Allow Minor Enter/Remain in Minors Authorisation Area – Liquor Act, 2007 (NSW) $1100.00
Licensee Allow Minor Enter/Remain in Bar of Hotel – Liquor Act, 2007 (NSW), $1100.00
Hotelier Liable for Operation of Gaming Machine By Minor – Gaming Machine Act, 2001 (NSW), $550.00
Employ Persons to Carry On Security Activity without Appropriate Master Licence – Corporation, Security Industry Act, 1997 (NSW).