Friday 19 June 2015
The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has approved an application by the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) and NSW Police for a 72 hour closure of the Imperial Hotel at Erskineville this weekend due to a range of serious breaches detected at the venue last week.
The venue has been ordered to close from 7pm today (Friday) and not re-open until 7pm Monday.
The short term closure order under the Liquor Act follows a targeted operation by OLGR and Police during which bar staff were observed openly consuming illicit drugs while performing their duties, numerous intoxicated and drug affected patrons were detected and inspectors were offered illicit drugs.
The hotel has come under increasing attention by both OLGR and Police due to numerous drug detections, repeated intoxication issues, and ongoing disturbance issues from patrons leaving the venue in the mere two months since the hotel came under new management.
OLGR Director of Compliance and Enforcement Anthony Keon said: "Despite repeated regulatory engagements, the venue has failed to implement appropriate controls to deal with illicit drug use and intoxication at the venue. A situation where bar staff and patrons are openly consuming drugs at the venue, and where there have been repeated drug and intoxication issues, is completely unacceptable and shows that the venue has been operating with a complete disregard for its obligations and responsibilities. Without significant and material changes to the management and supervision of the venue the likelihood of further illegal activity occurring at the venue is extreme, and the only appropriate action is to close the venue."
Newtown Local Area Police Commander, Superintendent Simon Hardman, said today’s actions send a clear message to business owners across the area. "We will actively pursue any venue where illegal activity is thought to be taking place," said Superintendent Hardman.
Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority Chief Executive Micheil Brodie said: "The Authority is satisfied that a serious breach of this Act has occurred, or is likely to occur, on the premises and that the closure of the premises is necessary to prevent or reduce a significant threat or risk to the public interest."
Both OLGR and Police have ongoing operations in the inner west area to ensure licensed premises are complying with their licence conditions and liquor and gaming laws.
OLGR has been conducting targeted venue engagements and audits to assist venues to review their business practices and make recommendations on any needed improvements.
Mr Keon said: "Venues that flout their obligations and operate outside of community expectations will not be tolerated. OLGR and
NSW Police will continue to work closely together and will use all the regulatory tools at our disposal to take strict regulatory action against irresponsible operators."
Patrons in possession and under the influence of illegal drugs, including patrons supplying and taking illegal drugs in the toilets.
Failure to implement adequate venue management controls despite warnings by Police and OLGR.
Public disturbances and anti-social behaviour by patrons including excessive noise, vandalism, public urination and defecation.
Intoxicated patrons, including patrons falling asleep in the venue and a woman passed out in a toilet cubicle.
Failure to monitor responsible consumption of alcohol.
Failure to maintain responsible serving practices, including free pouring of spirits and serving shots after 5am in the morning.
Concerns about fire safety risks.