I rise to talk today about the Australian Hotels Association, South Australian division. Many members of parliament paid their respects to the South Australian division of the Australian Hotels Association at its annual lunch yesterday, the Tuesday just passed. It is always a well-attended event; well attended by members of parliament and very much so out of respect for that particular industry.
Yesterday, again, we heard a most enlightening address from the President of the South
Australian division, Mr Peter Hurley, who was most entertaining but extremely pointed and talked
about many things that are wrong when trying to do business in South Australia. I note that normally
the government is the wearer of Mr Hurley's attacks, and there were a number of jibes yesterday that
were very well made about this state government, but the local government also copped a fair whack
yesterday, and rightly so. Some of the draconian rules and regulations that some people who get a
bit carried away with themselves in local government have decided to enact really makes trying to
do business in this state almost untenable.
The following are a few facts about the hotel industry, and members would know that I have championed the hotel industry from the time I was elected. I am a great believer in the social intercourse that takes place in hotels and I believe that South Australia punches well above its weight on a national level with regard to the quality and the environment that our hotels provide. The Hon. Mr Lucas interjects and says some of my best work has been done in hotels. I think, sir, that is an outrageous slur and I seek your protection from those vicious attacks!
The AHA has 24,000 employees under its membership and the annual payroll that goes into the South Australian economy is more than $480 million; 75 per cent of live music venue expenditure; it provides more than 12,000 hotel rooms in this state; it contributes $288 million in state gaming tax plus $66.5 million in gaming GST; 87 per cent remains family and small and medium enterprise based and I think that is a very important statistic. I am a great supporter of family businesses. Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time with many AHA members and heard from the President and, again, I congratulate him on his excellent address.
and red tape. One example I will use is the recent announcement by the Minister for Health on
smoking regulations. In the life of this government, restrictions on smoking have gone from one metre
from the bar, to outside, and now to designated areas outside and, eventually, if the minister gets his
way, there will no longer be smoking at licensed venues at all.
relief and the changes may be welcome. But what about the business owners, many of whom have
spent millions of dollars on designated smoking areas outside in the past few years only to be told
now that they cannot be used for such a purpose if there is food being served?
redundant. Beautiful and modern outdoor areas, many of which have won design awards, will
become white elephants all as a result of the minister's crusade. This is completely unfair and, of
course, hoteliers will not be compensated. This government continues to take and take from small
businesses in this state.
so I am not making this up. I questioned him on whether he would deem a bowl of nuts or a packet
of crisps that somebody was taking into a smoking area outdoors to be food. His answer shocked
me at time: yes, it could. So there is absolutely no sympathy for the hotel industry at all. Yesterday
the Premier talked about how he wants to work with business, how he wants to help business grow,
how fond he is of the hotel industry. Can I say: talk is cheap. This government has been talking for
more than a dozen years and has delivered nothing. Let us see them walk the walk.