By ROYCE KURMELOVS
Small and medium entertainment venues in the CBD are outraged over the new late trading fees that will soon take effect.
In a letter to the State Premier published online, Sugar nightclub owner Driller Jet Armstrong said his attempts to contact local representatives have been ignored.
“It feels like we have a gun to our head quite frankly; wind back your hours or pay!” he said.
He said he speaks for other venue operators when he argues the fees will lead to job losses and unfairly punish responsible venue operators.
Under new regulations venues open past 4am with over 200 people are required to pay up to $10,000 and those with less than 200 are required to pay $5000.
The fee is half that for those who remain open until 2am and 4am.
RaiseTheBar South Australia (RTB) campaign organiser John Wardle said the new late trading fees are evidence of a bureaucracy that is out of touch.
“These were changes brought through some time ago and are only just taking place now,” he said.
RTB is an online petition which aims to put pressure on local representatives.
It has received about 1,500 signatures and been the source of thousands of emails to local officials.
RTB began in New South Wales as a forum for people to vent their frustration to their local representatives when the NSW State Government was starting to consider licensing reform.
“NSW Raise the bar was very important in 2007 when the State Government there was looking at modernising liquor laws,” said Mr Wardle.
RTB was launched in South Australia two weeks ago at a panel discussion run by RenewAdelaide on what regulation is doing to Adelaide’s nightlife and creative industries.
The forum was attended by all major political parties and was held at the Jade Monkey, an iconic Adelaide music venue that was forced to close because of a nearby hotel development.
Mr Wardle said he wants to remove outdated and ambiguous definitions of entertainment from legislation.
“The question is whether Adelaide is a city or a suburb?” he said.
“Why do you turn it (on for) tourists and turn it off for the people who live here?
“It’s a really strategic reform for SA, to bring us up to state with ways other parts of the country are operating.
“Otherwise the potential of your state is unrealised.
“It’s hurting people.”