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drinks yearbook 2011

drinks yearbook | 45 Industry voice AHA (NSW) Paul Nicolaou CEO Looking back on 2011 it’s safe to say it was defi nitely an important year for AHA (NSW) at both the State and Federal levels on several fronts. In NSW March 2011 saw the election of a Coalition Government and the end of 16 years of Labor. The new Premier Barry O’Farrell acted immediately with a “100-day plan” to tackle problems ranging from infrastructure to health and planning. Contained within this plan was a commitment to introduce new “Three Strikes” legislation to deal with problem venues. The then CEO Sally Fielke and her team quickly identifi ed a signifi cant number of anomalies that would have massive implications for hotels, licensees and investors; strikes being imposed for allegations alone, strikes being imposed without the business or building owners being informed and strikes being incurred by the bricks and mortar - along with more than 20 other fl aws –which would have quickly decimated the industry and anyone investing in it. The AHA (NSW) along with specialist liquor licensing barristers/ solicitors and other stakeholders lobbied the State Government on the unfairness of much of the Bill. Subsequently, when the Bill was reintroduced in October, it contained substantial modifi cations. These were much fairer to licensees, while still achieving the aims of the legislation in targeting poor operators. The State Government is to be congratulated for listening, and addressing, the major concerns of the Association. In the Federal sphere, 2011 saw the AHA and Clubs Australia unite in opposing the Gillard Government’s illconceived mandatory pre-commitment policy for gaming machines. The brainchild of independent Andrew Wilkie, mandatory pre-commitment would decimate the industry while doing nothing to help problem gamblers. The public campaign on this front was on-going throughout 2011 with rallies, posters, coasters, newsletters and TV commercials outlining industry concerns based around the “won’t work, will hurt” slogan. No one disputes the need to help problem gamblers. Our issue is the need to force the industry to spend billions of dollars on an untried, untested pre-commitment scheme that won’t work but will certainly cripple the industry and cost thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, on the tourism and accommodation front the establishment of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) mid-year was a major development. TAA represents the bulk of NSW’s 3, 4 and 5 Star hotels, with members drawn from leading national and international hotel groups. These hotels play a key role in serving the needs of many of the 10 million plus domestic and international overnight visitors to Sydney each year. 2012 will see TAA continuing to lobby Federal and State politicians on behalf of its members and the independent Board move to implement its fi rst Five-Year Plan. I should point out that 2011 also saw the publication of the AHA (NSW) fact booklet “Real People, Real


drinks yearbook 2011
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