MARSHALL CALLS FOR RETHINK OF LIQUOR LICENCE FEE CHANGES

MARSHALL CALLS FOR RETHINK OF LIQUOR LICENCE FEE CHANGES

Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, left, discussing concerns with the government’s packaged liquor licence increases with Croppa Creek Store owner Carolyn Bellman.

Wednesday, 7 February 2024

SMALL general stores scattered across the Northern Tablelands will be significantly impacted by the State Government’s proposed liquor licence reforms, with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today calling for an urgent review of the policy.

Mr Marshall placed a motion on the notice paper in Parliament today, calling on the government to review the increase in liquor licence fees, for the sale of packaged takeaway alcohol, to ensure they are fair and equitable.

“There are so many general stores dotted across our region, whose owners have written to me very concerned about the proposed changes,” Mr Marshall said.

“Annual liquor licence fees are predicted to increase by 55 per cent, which will be crippling on top of all the other costs associated with operating their small businesses.

“Stores at Invergowrie, Kingstown, Croppa Creek, Wollomombi, Gilgai, Gravesend and Kentucky are just some of those which will face increased costs, with no benefits from the government’s city-based reforms.

“These stores are the hub of their local small communities, serving often not just as a corner store, but newsagent, post office, supermarket and bottle shop.

“They are essential to the fabric of their small communities and we cannot afford to lose them.”

Mr Marshall said the government’s Vibrancy Reforms were designed to benefit hotels, clubs, small bars, and licensed restaurants, particularly in metropolitan areas, to support a thriving and vibrant night-time economy.

“The good, old, humble general store in country NSW will unfortunately bear the brunt of these changes with a sharp increase in liquor licence fees,” he said.

Croppa Creek Store owner Carolyn Bellman said she was disappointed in the government’s decision to increase the cost of the annual packaged liquor licence.

“The increase is a direct response to the presumption that all liquor licence holders benefit significantly from recently passed vibrancy reforms,” Ms Bellman said.

“The fact is, however, small mixed businesses such as general stores holding a Packaged Liquor Licence in regional NSW will not benefit at all from such reforms.

“Most businesses like ours will not be extending their trading hours to sell takeaway liquor well beyond the regulated closing times.

“We feel there should be more differentiation between specific business operations and locations rather than blanket increases based upon type of licence held.”

Mr Marshall said he hoped the government would urgently consider his motion on the notice paper and review the increase in liquor licence fees to ensure a fair and equitable system for small, rural-based stores.

Mr Marshall’s motion in State Parliament today:

That this House:

1. Notes that small, regional general stores in the Northern Tablelands will be significantly impacted by the Government’s new liquor licence reforms, with annual fees predicted to increase by 55 per cent.
2. Notes that liquor licence fees should be fair and equitable.
3. Calls on the State Government to urgently review the impact of these reforms on small, regional general stores, including, Invergowrie Store, Kingstown Store, Croppa Creek Store, Wollomombi Store, Gilgai General Store, The Store Gravesend, and Kentucky General Store.

Hon. Adam Marshall MP
Member for Northern Tablelands
7 February 2024

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