THE government’s liquor licensing inspectors have been instructed not to do random audits of licensed premises over the past few months, sources have told the Herald.It is a stark contrast to Nathan Rees’s crackdown on binge-drinking in which a top 48 list of the worst pubs and clubs were produced and spot audits conducted on premises.Internal documents obtained by the Herald show that the instruction has also gone out that only executive managers can order premises to change their practices, with inspectors losing their power to do so.One source said the policy appeared to have clearly changed since Kristina Keneally took over from Mr Rees as Premier. Instead of 22 liquor licensing inspectors within the department inspecting premises, they are doing compliance audits over the phone.On-site inspections were only being done in pubs and clubs where there was a specific complaint, the source said.A leaked memo from the Office of the Liquor, Gaming and Racing’s director of compliance, Albert Gardner, dated March 22, says inspectors would no longer be able to penalise establishments using a Section 75 direction. The memo says: ”The executive director and I have reviewed the exercise of the delegation to issue orders under Section 75 of the Liquor Act (direction to a licensee or staff member to cease of [sic] modify a practice.)”Although there is no indication the exercise of the delegation has been misused, it is now appropriate that it be exercised at manager level only.”Another minute, from a team leader’s meeting within the department, states: ”No joint operations should be conducted with police as this is a duplication of resources, especially in relation to unlicensed karaoke bars which may be run by criminals.”The opposition’s gaming and racing spokesman, George Souris, said departmental sources had told him that there were no plans to do spot checks on pubs and clubs during one of the busiest days of the year.”They are not auditing alcohol-related binge drinking and assaults. My understanding is visits in the field are not occurring – for example, they will not be occurring on the one of the busiest days of the year – on Anzac Day.”A Department of Gaming and Racing spokesman said no direction had been given to cease on-site audits of venues.”OLGR’s 60 inspectors have carried out 623 on-site audits of licensed venues this year (January 1 to April 14),” the spokesman said. ”On-site audits, both covert and overt, remain an important tool in improving compliance levels and enforcing the liquor laws in licensed venues.”
Nanjing Night Net