LICENSING officers from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command (LILAC) believe the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's Three Strikes disciplinary scheme is an effective tool in curbing alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour.
Established in 2012, licensed premises can receive a strike for nine offences including permitting intoxication on a licensed premises, selling or supplying alcohol to an intoxicated person or minor, selling or supplying alcohol outside of authorised trading hours and permitting the use or sale of substances which the manager suspects are illicit.
A strike issued to a venue remains against them for three years and a third strike can result in licence suspension for up to 12 months or disqualification of a licensee for any period of time.
For registered clubs, a third strike can result in imposition of licence conditions, disqualification of a club secretary, dismissal of any or all of the club directors, and/or the appointment of an administrator to manage the club.
Shellharbour Workers Club was the first registered club, and one of the first venues, to be placed on the Three Strikes register in 2012, while the Gerringong Bowling Club was placed on the register in May.
Both clubs received a strike for permitting intoxication on a licensed premises.
LILAC licensing officer Sergeant Gary Keevers said the introduction of the scheme had resulted in licensed premises cracking down on intoxication issues.
"For us the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme is an important tool to ensure licensed premises are operating within the legislation that covers them," Sergeant Keevers said.
"Most places now are doing the right thing in terms of intoxicated people, in that if they think somebody is intoxicated then they'll ask them to leave because they understand the consequences that can come with receiving a strike.
"Some people have an issue with that and don't want to leave because they think they're not intoxicated for which they can receive what's commonly known as a fail to quit notice which carries a $550 fine, but what we know is that if we reduce intoxication then we reduce violence, it doesn't completely disappear, but it does go down."
Sergeant Keevers also said that most venues that receive a strike make the necessary changes to ensure they don't receive a subsequent strike.
"When a venue receives a strike they usually work to change what happened so they don't get another, and in some cases there might be changes imposed by the courts."