ACT News


Call for a grog-free festival

GERMAN, Polish and Hungarian beer flow through the centre of Canberra as part of the National Multicultural Festival but the Australian Hotels Association says the event should be alcohol-free as stall holders are not selling booze responsibly.

General manager of the ACT branch Brad Watts said not-for-profit groups were exempted from the strict responsible-service-of-alcohol standards by regulators during the festival, but staff at Civic-based licensed venues had to undergo training and have RSA certificates.

"It's pretty hard to swallow where there are two separate standards for alcohol responsibility in Canberra - one lenient standard for community groups operating under 'non-commercial' liquor permits and one very strict standard for industry," Mr Watts said.

"The festival should be alcohol-free if they can't satisfy the same requirements as all licensees.''

He said the "double standards" were putting people in danger.

"Industry wants the same standards applied for the service of all alcohol in Canberra, especially to ensure the safety of people enjoying festivities in Civic. We support festivals that bring tourists to Canberra - but industry does not support an unbalanced approach to alcohol service."


Mr Watts said licensed venues had to deal with drunk patrons who had consumed too much alcohol at other venues.

"Licensed venues should not be burdened with RSA issues of patrons coming into venues after the festival has finished," he said.

But a spokesman for the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Joy Burch said the festival had an excellent safety record.

''We work with police and authorities to ensure responsible service of alcohol,'' he said.