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Bowls In Focus : December 2009
26 Bowls In Focus Most clubs will be aware that the liquor licensing authorities have taken a heightened interest in compliance by bowls clubs with the liquor laws. When the newspapers are full of stories of alcohol-induced violence by youth at city nightclubs, it really is surprising that the law enforcers are allocating so many resources to ensuring that visiting bowling teams have signed a visitor’s register prior to being served alcohol! But, it appears that this blitz will continue and clubs can face significant fines for getting the minutia of the complex legislation wrong. The prohibition on serving drunks and under-age people is easy to understand, although sometimes hard to enforce. However, the laws regarding display of signs, red line plans, and who is a guest are difficult to understand and easy to overlook. What appear to be simple require- ments are actually quite complicated and often misinter- preted by the clubs and also by the law enforcers. Last month we at ClubsVIC sent a circular via the RVBA to clubs that set out a dot-pointer of the major require- ments of the Liquor Control reform Act in relation to small sporting clubs. We received much positive feedback from the circular, and all clubbies are welcome to contact Sue Thomas Mitchell or Mick Kelly at ClubsVIC if they need further explanation. We are working together with the RVBA to arrange a road show to ‘take the message to the people’ so you will have the opportunity to ask any questions or seek further advice at those sessions. We consider that many of the requirements placed on clubs for the service of alcohol provide no positive out- come. Why should it matter whether or not a club has a list of visiting players before the players are served alcohol? Does this lead to less abuse of alcohol? - Surely not. The only purpose that seems to be served by this requirement is that the state can fine clubs that slip up on the enforce- ment of the law. So, ClubsVIC is proposing to put together a campaign to abolish the requirement for signing-in at clubs. We can see no practical reason for maintaining this obligation as a legal requirement. We have had preliminary discussions with the Department regarding this matter, and they are quite open to reconsidering whether this requirement serves any real purpose at all. One downside of the proposal to abolish signing-in is that clubs may be seen to increase their ‘risk rating’ . T he new liquor licensing fee structure is based on a ‘risk rating’. Venues that pose higher risk of alcohol abuse pay higher liquor licence fees than venues that pose a lower risk. So, nightclubs with sexually explicit entertainment pay huge annual licence fees of up to $30,000, and bowling clubs pay $710. Hotels that do not trade beyond 1am pay the same licence fee as bowling clubs - i.e. $710, but if a hotel trades beyond 1am it pays a much higher licence fee. Originally the difference between the proposed early- closing hotel licence fee and the club licence fee was much more significant ($000s). The reason given by the govern- ment for the differential was that hotels posed a higher risk than clubs. One of the reasons for clubs being a lower risk was that clubs required guests to sign-in. However, the ho- tel lobby was successful in having the proposed differential in licence fees abolished. So now there seems to be little reason to maintain the sign-in requirement for clubs. ClubsVIC intends to canvass member clubs over the next couple of months to gauge their reaction to the pro- posal to abolish sign-in requirements. If the sentiment is in favour of abolition, then the campaign will begin in earnest early in the new year. Sign-in books are expensive and fines for non-com- pliance are high. The utility of the requirement appears to be negligible. Of course, any particular club that wanted to maintain the requirement to sign-in would be perfectly at liberty to have this as an enforceable rule. As a require- ment under the rules of the club, all guests would need to be signed-in, but in the event that someone slips past, then the club will not be fined. ClubsVIC would be pleased to receive the any com- ments that clubs have regarding this issue. The ‘road show’ sessions will provide the forum to really explore how clubs feel about this. On a different matter, clubs are advised that the Club- sVIC Food Safety Template has been updated to meet the new requirements regarding food allergens. Any clubs that are using the ClubsVIC Food Safety Template will receive the new Template in the next few weeks. The new template is registered Template 10 version 2. When next renewing the club’s food premises registration, clubs on our template need to advise the council that the template being used is registered Template 10 version 2. The Volunteer Food Handlers Manual will also be updated in the coming weeks and new versions will be available from ClubsVIC. - Margaret Kearney Executive Director ClubsVIC Liquor Licensing Bias Without Bias Without What people are saying Premier League Bowler: “How good would I be if I had these 10 years ago?” Club: “Our entire club will improve out of sight with these Rebound Discs” Coach: “At long last, a professional practice tool that I can really use!” Kelvin Kerkow: “Every bowler should have a set of these in their bag!” containing 18 training exercises Kelvin Kerkow Australia’s Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist uses and endorses the Rebound Disc Practice System SEE THE REBOUND DISCS IN ACTION & PLACE YOUR ORDER AT: Website: www.rebounddisc.com.au Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or contact John Maher: 0414 397 194 Kelvin Kerkow Recommended as follows: SET of 6 - For the Bowler SET of 8 - Advanced Bowler SET of 10 - Advanced & Coach SETof12-Coach&Club Revolutionary Lawn Bowls Practice System Rebound Disc Practice Systems Revolutionary Lawn Bowls Practice System Revolutionary Lawn Bowls Practice System Rebound Disc Practice Systems