Another day in the life of the Pubs, Clubs and Developers Party (aka the NSW ALP) and a little reminder from the boss about who’s really in charge.

The SMH has a yarn about proposed changes to the Liquor Act that would greatly reduce the licence fee for restaurants and small bars to offer live music and serve alcohol. The proposal allegedly has the backing of several ministers but is put in perspective by in these two paragraphs:

But the NSW president of the Australian Hotels Association, John Thorpe, said the proposals were just “pie in the sky stuff”.

“And if it did happen, the effect it would have on our industry would be fairly substantial. It would hurt. I don’t know if the Government has considered compensation for these sorts of things,” he said.

Of course the changes won’t go before Parliament until after the March election, so the PC&D Party can claim now to be attempting to do a little something but once they’re back in government, well, one should expect a return to true form.

Form such as allowing clubs to become property developers and build shopping centres around their poker machines, increase the cash payouts from the machines and sell off land without taking a members vote. As the story says, clubs “have traditionally had close fundraising and other ties with Labor”.

Form such as backsliding on smoking restrictions in pubs and non-enforcement of the theoretical restrictions that remain.

Form such as… well, just standard rum state form really.

And why shouldn’t pubs get money from the government in return for all the cash they kick in to their political party? The Lane Cove tunnel mob are copping $25 million to delay some road works for the sake of getting Premier Dilemma re-elected.

Wonder if the rather dodgy nature of doing business with Macquarie Street has anything to do with the story that Cheung Kong Infrastructure wants to sell its 50% stake in the Lane Cove tunnel after losing its investment in the Cross-City Tunnel?

Peter Fray

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