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February 24, 2024

Byron Bay Liquor Accord conditions ‘not breached’

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It could be weeks before Byron Bay Liquor Accord chair Hannah Spalding knows whether the venues found to be in breach of trading conditions by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) earlier this month are members of her Accord.

The OLGR blitzed Byron Bay venues over the October long weekend, announcing it had identified ten breaches in a total of five venues over the period.

But, Ms Spalding says, it has yet to determine whether to take action over the infractions.

One thing she can say with certainty is that OLGR have told her they are ‘not for breaches of our voluntary conditions, such as no doubles, no shots, no jugs.’

Nor were they for breaching the voluntary 1.30am lockout time for late-night venues, she added.

What that means, though, is that they are potentially far more serious breaches of the venue’s own licence conditions or of the liquor act itself.

‘I have spoken to OLGR and they advise they don’t usually release [the names of the venues] until they have finalised whether it will be a [formal] breach or not and they advise that they are still working with the licensees on the final outcome of the detected breaches,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘It is a process they go through with the individual licensees – it has nothing to do with the Accord,’ she said.

‘While they were here on the weekend, they did advise us that all Accord terms were being followed and that any of the incidences that they detected had to do with licence conditions or NSW liquor legislation,’ she added.

Ms Spalding agreed it was ‘definitely’ a disappointing outcome for the town’s venues, while adding ‘it’s hard to know… while they are still going through the process, whether that stays at ten [infringements].’

‘In general in Byron Bay, OLGR is still seeing violence trending down,’ she said.

Assaults double state average

But while this may be the case, according to a report released by OLGR in May this year, the percentage of non-domestic assaults in the town that are alcohol-related remains stubbornly high.

In 2009, when the figures first began, 88 per cent of the town’s non-domestic assaults were deemed to be alcohol related, against a state average of 45 per cent.

While that figure reduced to about 79 per cent in 2014, the state average dropped to less than 38 per cent over the same period.

And while the report said there was ‘a general perception among key stakeholders that public safety in Byron Bay had improved’ over the period, implementation of the action plan had been ‘incomplete and staggered’.

It concluded that while membership of the Accord should remain voluntary, ‘regulatory intervention should be considered for any high risk venue that fails to adhere to the current accord terms.’

Ms Spalding said that membership of the Accord had not shown much growth in recent times, adding OLGR said this was ‘fairly typical, when you already have most of the large, late-night venues on board.’

She added that OLGR’s decision to charge new licence fees ‘adds to the other costs, especially of smaller licensed premises.’

Ms Spalding said it was ‘not really [the Accord’s] place to take action’ against recalcitrant venues, ‘where it comes to a breach of licence.’

‘The Liquor Accord’s function is to try and increase safety and promote positive changes within the alcohol industry in the local area above and beyond legislation.

‘If these people have breached their liquor licence conditions or NSW legislation then appropriate action will be taken by OLGR… all we can do as an Accord is to continue to push people to be members.’

Echonetdaily’s repeated requests for comment from OLGR have yet to receive a response.

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  1. None of the BBLA conditions are legally enforceable. The real elephant remains the deliberate OLGR/BBLA avoidance of the two most proven effective measures to PREVENT alcohol fuelled violence and related harms at no cost to rate and taxpayers.

    1. Modest reductions in last drink times
    2. Enforceable licensing conditions that effectively deter non compliance

    The power of the local grog industry still overrides the public safety interests of the Police and the local community in Byron Bay. We must urgent recalibrate this dangerous imbalance before the silly season begins.

  2. The BBLA conditions ARE enforceable by OLGR. Only their acceptance is voluntary, once a venue has voluntarily signed to accept them (and all the main venues in Byron Bay have) they become enforceable.

    The Byron Bay Liquor Accord conditions are THE MOST RESTRICTIVE IN NSW :

    All members of the Byron Bay Liquor Accord will agree to:
    1. Strictly evaluate entry to patrons seen drinking alcohol on approach to venues.
    2. Adhere to the accord’s Standard and Multi-Venue barring policy.
    3. Adhere to a strict door policy.
    4. Ensure that no person is allowed entry into, or permitted to remain on the licensed presmises if that person is wearing any clothing, jewellery or accessory which displays:
    4.1 The name of any of the following organizations: Bandidos, Black Uhlans, Coffin Cheaters, Commanchero, Finks, Fourth Reich, Gladiators, Gypsy Jokers, Hells Angels, Highway 61, Life and Death, Lone Wolf, Mobshitters, Mongols, Muslim Brotherhood Movement, Nomads, Notorious, Odins Warriors, Outcasts, Outlaws, Phoenix, Rebels, or Scorpions.
    4.2 The “colours”, club patch, insignia, or logo of any of the organisations specified in (4.1) above.
    4.3 The “1%” or “1%er” symbol.
    4.4 Any image, symbol, abbreviation, or acronym, or other form of words which indeicates membership or association with any of the organisations specified in (4.1) above.
    Byron Bay Liquor Accord Members who hold a license other than a packaged liquor license will adhere to:
    5. No double serves of spirits (EG: vodka & orange, rum & coke, and other such mixed spirits), excluding cocktails at any time.
    6. No jugs of alcoholic beverages at any time.
    7. No shooters/shots (or any drink that is designed to be consumed rapidly) at anytime.
    8. No more than 2 unconsumed drinks per person after midnight.
    9. Not sell ‘ready to drink beverages’ containing more than 5% alcohol at anytime.
    10. A 1:30am lockout all nights.
    11. A minimum of one RSA Marshal will be deployed from midnight until closing on Saturday evenings in peak periods. Determining peak periods will be in consultation with OLGR and local POLICE.
    12. Cease service of alcohol 15 minutes before close on Friday and Saturday evenings if trading after midnight.
    13. A communications protocol between venues that trade after midnight.
    Byron Bay Liquor Accord Members who hold a packaged liquor license will:
    14. Not sell/supply cask wine greater than 2L to the general public.
    15. Not sell alcoholic energy drinks.
    16. Not sell “super cheap” cleanskin bottles of wine or sell alcohol below cost to general public as part of regular trade activities.
    17. Use take-away bottle paper bags with responsible consumption of alcohol messages.

  3. I would like to add that as a venue owner and member of the BBLA i take exception to the statement “The power of the local grog industry still overrides the public safety interests of the Police and the local community in Byron Bay.”

    I don’t really understand that emotive statement. We do not have any power over the police, none over the government regulators, over council etc. etc.

    At any stage the liquor regulators can choose to either add conditions on our licences (or cancel them) if they believe that it is required. We are completely powerless to stop that.

    The reason they don’t choose to do so is that they don’t believe that it is required. No venue opens past 3AM (the same as Newcastle and Sydneys Kings Cross supposedly heavy restrictions) and our BBLA terms are often more strict that BOTH of these areas.

    We are members of the Byron Bay community, we live here and so do our families too. We employ plenty of local people and so help support their families. Hundreds of thousands of people visit our venues and have a great night out in Byron Bay each and every year. Yes there will always be dickheads amongst that mix (158 in total last year from police records) but they are VASTLY outnumbered by the people that have a great night out.


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