Bid to curb curfew
Fairfield Champion, 24 April 2003
FAIRFIELD Council will support local clubs and hotels in their bid to beat a new gaming curfew and stay open longer.
The state government is due to introduce a minimum shutdown period for clubs in May of six hours a day.
But the council is supporting local clubs and pubs that want to reduce the shutdown to only three hours a day providing they meet the council's new "Good Neighbour" policy for the conduct of responsible gaming.
The move comes as Cabramatta state MP Reba Meagher announced grants totalling $18,700 to two local organisations - NSW Indo-China Chinese Association and Khmer Community of NSW - to tackle problem gambling in the area.
Ms Meagher said the state government wanted to minimise the harm caused by gambling.
Under the Good Neighbour policy, clubs and pubs will have to demonstrate "substantial best practice activities in responsible gambling management".
Fairfield mayor, Cr Nick Lalich, said: "We have criteria that we want the clubs and pubs to adhere to and if they surpass this then we are prepared to support them in their bid for a three-hour closing period.
"The ultimate decision is up to the Licensing Court." Cr Lalich said that about 90 per cent of licensed premises had adopted the Good Neighbour policy and it was now up to them to demonstrate that they can adhere to it.
It will be up to council staff to decide if licensed premises meet the criteria.
But Unity councillor Thang Ngo criticised the move, saying that any proposal for clubs to stay open should go to full council for consideration - not left up to council staff.
Many local clubs and pubs have written to the council expressing their concern about the six-hour shutdown, including potential job losses and an increase in illegal gaming.
Some clubs said that longer closing times could affect the capacity of clubs to support sport and welfare agencies.