Pub and bar owners should pay for social harm

hindley-streetA radical new idea to control drunkenness and crime in Hindley Street will come under the spotlight at a Public Order Forum hosted by Flinders University on Wednesday.

The Forum, Intoxication, Crime and Hindley Street,  to be held at Flinders University Victoria Square, will include a proposal by Willem de Lint, Professor in Criminal Justice at Flinders Law School, that publicans and bar owners should pay some of the cost of the social harm caused by alcohol and partying at late night venues in the city centre.

“This is an important Forum at a time when there is considerable public discussion around 24-hour trading, particularly in Hindley Street,” Professor De Lint said.

The State Government recently backed off a proposal to force pubs and clubs, except for the Adelaide Casino, to close between 4am and 7am to help curb problem drinking and alcohol fuelled violence.  This followed protests from the owners of late night venues who claimed the measures didn’t go far enough and they are being treated unfairly.

Professor De Lint however, will argue that owners should take responsibility for the public harm caused by their trading practises, and instead of off-loading the costs of law and order onto the taxpayer through demands for increased policing, they should contribute to the costs.

“Polluters are increasingly paying for harm to the environment, so we could work out a similar scheme and calculate a tax on pub and club owners based on social harm,” Professor De Lint said.

Professor De Lint will be joined on the panel by:

Tony Tropeano – Lawyer, Fletcher & Lawson Lawyers and President, Hindley Street Traders Association

Michael O’Connell – Commissioner for Victims’ Rights SA

Paul White – Deputy Chief Executive, Attorney General’s Department Commissioner, Office of Liquor and Gambling

Christopher J Charles – General Counsel, Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement

George Mancini – Spokesperson, SA Council for Civil Liberties

Moderated by Professor David Bamford – Dean, Flinders Law School.

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