O'Dowd's fights glass ban

Update: Court rules glass bans valid

A ROCKHAMPTON pub is one of 14 Queensland venues that will find out today if State Government notices enforcing a glass ban will be withdrawn.

Licensees representing the venues, which include O’Dowd’s Irish Pub in Rockhampton, took their fight to the Supreme Court in Brisbane yesterday after receiving notices labelling the glasses “high risk” and asking why they should not be forced to replace them with plastic or tempered glass by December.

Last month the Queensland Government named six Rockhampton district venues which were to be issued with show cause notices to establish whether they would have to change to plastic cups.

It emerged yesterday that one of these venues, The Heritage Hotel, had been removed from the Government’s list.

A spokeswoman from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation confirmed a venue had been taken off, but wouldn’t confirm which one.

At court, Mark Plunkett, for the Queensland Government, argued that a single glassing incident was enough for a notice to be issued.

The process then allowed for venues to argue why they should not be classified as high risk, he said.

But Peter Flanagan, SC, who represented the pubs and clubs, said the venues had not been given adequate reasons to explain why the “high risk” tag had been applied so that they could properly respond.

He said the only information they had been given was that there had been at least one glassing at the premises, with no circumstances or reasoning attached.

He said it appeared the Government had received a briefing from police, but the licensees were unaware of the content of the briefing.

Mr Flanagan said a policy of being classified after one glassing was “very close to blind application” and would mean “one glassing and you’re out”.

The court heard the tag could cost the licensees money in lost patrons and higher insurance while changing from glass would cost an establishment between $15,000 and $30,000.

Mr Flanagan asked the court to rule the notices be withdrawn and the process started again, arguing that the Government might, on review, decide not to issue the notices to some of the premises.

Justice Peter Applegarth reserved his decision until 9.15am today.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser told reporters in Cairns the Government had no intention to step away from the glass ban.

“Those licence-holders who want to argue against the idea that they should be doing everything to provide safe drinking environments had better get with the program,” he said.

“The reason we are doing this is to provide a safe drinking environment.”

However, opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls said banning glasses would not get to the core of the problem.

“We have a culture that seems to have developed over the last 10 or 15 years of drunkenness, of young men getting into fights around the place.

“That culture needs to be attacked, just removing the glasses is not going to stop the violence,” he said.

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