PRIVATE MEMBERS' STATEMENTS
BLACKTOWN TAVERN PROPOSAL
Mr GIBSON (Blacktown) [5.52 p.m.]: Blacktown is a fast-growing area. It is the second- largest municipality in Australia after Brisbane. The area is quickly becoming a business hub of New South Wales, contrary to what Councillor Ho from Strathfield might think. I am certain that the people of Blacktown will not let him forget his slur on them. I refer to the proposal to build a tavern at 45 Main Street Blacktown. Within a one kilometre square of the business centre of Blacktown are 1,000 poker machines. A tavern that may house up to another 30 poker machines is not needed in the centre of Blacktown. Last year Blacktown City Council appeared before the Land and Environment Court and lost an appeal against the building of a tavern at 45 Main Street. The court delivered an extempore judgment that upheld the appeal by Millane Planning Consultants, and granted conditional approval for a tavern-bistro with a maximum of 30 gaming machines. The premises in question were, at one stage, a medical centre.
The Licensing Court will make a decision in April on whether the proposal will be given the go-ahead. The Catholic Church, represented by a good friend of mine Father Arthur Bridge, the police, Blacktown City Council, retail groups, and community groups are up in arms about the approval of the licence for another tavern in Blacktown. Blacktown Patrol Commander, Superintendent Les Wales, said that the police had busted their butts in the last two years to clean up Main Street. Superintendent Wales said:
Superintendent Wales said that the proposed tavern, which is close to a train station and a taxi rank, was a honey pot for trouble. I totally agree with him. Licensing Sergeant Mick Gorman also opposes the tavern. He said:
We have made inroads.
Another establishment will add fuel to the fire. We don't need it and we don't want it.
He made the point that there are more than 1,000 poker machines within a confined area in that part of Blacktown. The Mayor of Blacktown said:
In other words, are there enough licensed establishments in the CBD to cover the needs of the community.
Independent Councillor Russ Dickens said:
We want to keep a socially interactive central business district.
The whole of the community is totally opposed to another tavern at Blacktown. I do not know how much notice the Licensing Court will take of the concerns of the local community when the matter goes before that court. If a licence for a tavern is granted against the wishes of the community one would have to ask whether the magistrate in the Licensing Court, or whatever magistrate it might be, is making a decision that will be advantageous to Blacktown and its future, or whether the magistrate is making a decision based on one businessman in the area. Some judges make funny decisions from time to time. If judges go against the grain, should they have to answer to the community? Should they be approved or elected by the community if they are going to make decisions that affect that community? An extra tavern is not needed at Blacktown. I hope that the Licensing Court realises that when the case is before it in April.
I agree that taverns are necessary but I believe it's inappropriate for them to be in the main street of the city.
I have a great deal of regard for the retailers in the Main Street and their concerns. They have some valid concerns and I support them.