THE Tasmanian Hospitality Association wants the Liquor and Gaming Commission scrapped, labelling it a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.
THA general manager Steve Old says the lack of any public hearings around the approval of licences for liquor giant Dan Murphy’s in Launceston and Hobart showed why the commission was not required.
MORE: WORK SET TO START ON SITE OF DAN MURPHY’S IN NEW TOWN
“We are calling for the closing down of the Liquor and Gaming Commission,” Mr Old told the Sunday Tasmanian.
“It’s a worthless waste of Tasmanian taxpayers’ money.
“The commission doesn’t do anything – what is the point of paying three members of the board to sit around and do nothing?
“When the Dan Murphy’s was proposed in Launceston, there were 69 representations for and against it but no public hearing, the commissioner just hands out the licence.
“We thought it would be different with the one in Hobart but no, again, it’s just approved despite significant community response on both sides. What is the point of it?
“When it comes to liquor licences, you might as well just have the commissioner and the department, because they are just approving the licences anyway.”
The Liquor and Gaming Commission is an independent body responsible for the regulation of gaming in Tasmania, under the Gaming Control Act, and as an appeal body under the Liquor Licensing Act.
It has three members and is funded about $6 million a year by Treasury. However, Mr Old said the money could be better spent elsewhere.
“You could take the money and put it into another part of Treasury that will actually do something,” he said.
“You could bolster harm minimisation, you could do a lot of other things that would be a lot better than paying members to sit around.
“They aren’t holding public hearings on applications, they are just making the decision without hearing from the people.”
Dan Murphy’s won approval for a Hobart store at New Town.
A State Government spokesman played down Mr Old’s concerns.
“This [Dan Murphy’s] highlights that Tasmania’s economy is growing and people are looking to invest,” he said.
“The Liquor and Gaming Commission is an independent body, at arms-length from government.”