Horsham council supports basketball liquor licence extension

HORSHAM Rural City Council has supported the expansion of Horsham Amateur Basketball Association’s liquor licence.

The association has applied to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation to extend its licence from one day a week to seven days.

The licence would allow alcohol to be served between 7pm and 10pm from Monday to Thursday, 7pm and midnight on Friday, 1pm to midnight on Saturday and 1pm to 10pm on Sunday.

The extended licence would cover the entire stadium.

Councillors raised concerns last month that expanding the licence could promote dangerous drinking. 

All councillors except Heather Phillips supported the licence expansion on Monday after meeting the association last week. 

Cr Mark Radford said alcohol would not be served during games. 

“To me the way this could be policed is through reputation,” he said. 

“If a club is doing the wrong thing, it won’t take long for its reputation to be damaged.

“The idea of sitting down with a beer and a cigarette post game is a thing of the past; certainly the athletes I associate with drink Powerade and water after a game.”

Cr Phillips raised concerns that groups hiring the basketball stadium could abuse the liquor licence. 

“I am still afraid that there is a lot of trust in regard to compliance,” she said.

“Our lease agreement is with the basketball association and not with any third-party users who hire the stadium.”

Cr Phillips said mixing alcohol and sport could create unhealthy habits in young athletes. 

“I’m concerned that we are instilling in sporting groups the desire to finish a game and have alcohol,” she said. 

“Yes, we can’t consume alcohol under 18 but as kids reach the senior teams the first thing they do at the end of a game is probably grab a beer in the locker room.

“There will be a fair amount of coercion in a team of young men or women to have a drink so they are not the odd one left out. 

“I hope for the basketball association that this doesn’t come back to bite them in the same way that football clubs have had problems down the track when there is a culture of drinking first thing after an exercise program.”

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