Debate over Death on Kings Cross

Kings Cross inSydneyhas seen a public uproar over the passing of Thomas Kelly, an eighteen year old who died after being hit while he walked along a street on Kings Cross earlier in July, 2012. A panel which included police, politicians, representatives of the liquor industry and crime experts were crammed into the Town Hall to hold discussions about the issue, with hundreds of public representatives.

Mark Murdoch, the New South Wales Assistant Police Commissioner addressed the forum saying the time to fixSydney’s alcohol addiction has come. He got straight to the point, without mucking around, and said that the availability and abuse of alcohol is the real problem, drawing applause from the crowd.

He added that drugs have been a historical problem in Kings Cross, however, the alcohol problem seems to be outdoing it. While Mr. Murdoch spoke at the Town Hall, inspectors walked into the bars in Kings Cross to start a major conformity audit of all venues that are licensed on the nightclub strip.

George Souris, the Hospitality Minister assured that checks had commenced and that they will go on over the following few days. He also revealed that the areas licensing approvals and transport issues will be addressed by a management plan that is currently under development. The incident is yet another reminder of responsible behaviour and more vigilance on the part of businesses serving alcoholic drinks, and reiterates the importance of RSA courses.

RSA News Universities to Address Drinking Issues

An eminent panel of West Australians raised ideas about closing university taverns, incorporating alcohol education into all degrees and making volunteer work compulsory before graduation.

Universities in Australia are tantamount with drinking and the problem was made a prime topic at a forum on universities’ expectations conducted by Curtin University. The forum included Karl O’Callaghan – the Police Commissioner and Governor Malcolm McCusker’s wife Tonya McCusker – McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth’s philanthropic sponsor.

Ms McCusker believes that although universities are places where students go to obtain education, they share a responsibility to extend their views towards community and health initiatives. She said that it is a critical stage in which students enter universities. They have the freedom to do anything they like and the drinking culture is one that needs to be more responsible. Universities are expected to address this issue.

Ms McCusker said that universities did a great job with smoking, especially in Western Australia where every university campus was smoke-free. But when it comes to the alcohol culture, she believes it needs quick and stringent addressing. Responsible service of alcohol (RSA) is a course that is fundamental if you are looking for jobs in the hospitality sector. By undergoing a RSA course, workers at bars will be more responsible while serving alcohol to youngsters, knowing fully well that young blood is dumb blood.

Small Bars in Sydney Responsible for Big Trouble

The New South Wales government will review the rules that govern the institution of Sydney’s small bars with George Souris – the Hospitality Minister – suggesting that they contribute to issues in areas like Kings Cross. The 2008 State Parliament laws make it quicker and cheaper to establish small bars by eliminating application fees and red tape.

Clove Moore, Sydney’s lord mayor and Member of Parliament led the push, but faced strong opposition from the hotel industry which said that they would practice the standards of responsible alcohol service. The death of Thomas Kelly – a teenager and the response of the government to the violence in Kings Cross saw Mr. Souris give an interview in which he said that the surveillance, supervision and compliance levels were very low in small bars. The bigger bars associated with gambling have better surveillance and supervision as compared to the smaller venues.

Mr. Souris’ main concern was regarding the impact of small bars’ “proliferation” that surrounded Kings Cross after the law was changed. The proliferation was among the contributors to problems of violence related to alcohol in Kings Cross, according to Mr. Souris.

The importance of responsible service of alcohol has increased all the more following these events in Australia. Anyone wishing to work in the hospitality industry must have the necessary certification that prepares them to take informed decisions with regard to the service of alcohol and handling of on-premise alcohol-related incidences.

Western Australia Encourages Pregnant Women to Abstain From Alcohol

The moral responsibility of West Australians has come to the forefront over increasing concerns of selling alcohol to to-be mothers. Reports indicate that luxury hotels are refusing alcoholic beverages to pregnant women. CEO of AHA (Australian Hotel Association) Western Australia Bradley Woods says that employees at liquor outlets and hospitality workers are not sure if they are legally obliged to serve alcohol to pregnant women.

The issue gained prominence when an advertising campaign from a the state government encouraged women who were pregnant to abstain from the consumption of alcohol.

Western Australia is holding hearings this week with regard to foetal alcohol syndrome following an enquiry from the federal parliament.

The campaign is picking up pace and posters that say ‘abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy is the safest step forward’ are being put up at several places. While banning pregnant women from consuming alcohol may be an option, the campaign stresses on educating them first before being forced into creating such a law. Bartenders and hospitality workers who have undergone RSA courses in alcohol serving will be trained on how to handle situations in a bar or restaurant. It is absolutely vital that you have the requisite training before applying for a job in the country’s hospitality sector.

Food Safety News: Vegetable and Fruit Traceability Queried

New Zealand and Australia are facing a food safety scare and the need for traceability of fresh produce is raising several questions. Delegates were addressed by food health specialists at the Produce Marketing Association – New Zealand and Australia Fresh Connections 2012 conference that was held in June in Melbourne.

Dr. Craig Shadbolt, the unit manager for foodborne illness investigation of the NSW Food Authority spoke on local and international experiences of disease outbreaks caused by small crops.  The United States FDA reported that 146 people were infected with the outbreak-associated diseases along with thirty deaths and a pregnancy miscarriage.

Jensen Farms, Colorado is said to be the place where the outbreak occurred, where inappropriate sanitation procedures were prominent for the transmission of the disease, along with the use of 2nd hand equipment. All rockmelons that came from Jensen Farms were prompted to be recalled. Mr. Shadbolt explained how Jensen Farms faced numerous lawsuits before going bankrupt after the outbreak, while the whole rockmelon sector in the US collapsed overnight.

He says that the incident played a major role in highlighting the need for Aussie farmers to make vegetable and fruit tracking mechanisms available on their farms, along with the need for training courses in food safety.

White Card Training Helps Construction Workers Get Employment Faster

People who are moving to Australia to find jobs could have to wait for two months at their destination if they haven’t checked whether or not they have the essential minimum work qualifications. And they must also undergo the required training course. As discussed in a recent news report, although those seeking employment Down Under may have work visas, they may not necessarily be work-ready.

Training courses like ‘Responsible Service for Alcohol’ for those who work in the hospitality sector and the ‘White Card’ for construction industry workers are important requisites to start work at the respective job sites. Training providers add that employment in the construction sector without a White Card just cannot be found. An arrival without the required qualifications in Australia will result in a wait of 6 to 8 weeks.

It is important that you possess all the necessary training qualifications when you move to a new country for employment. Waiting for two months is the last thing that that job seekers need. The requisite training courses are easily available at most training providers in Australia, with many being offered online as well. Online training courses are popular as they save time and offer much convenience.

Clubs Australia Devised Extensive Plans to Counter Problem Gambling

Clubs Australia represents over six thousand non-profit clubs. A policy paper is expected to be mailed to all the federal politicians, regarding an approach to problem gamblers and how addiction can be overcome. Self-exclusion is included in this plan.

The paper wants state governments to join forces with researchers and industry and develop a gambling training program that will make addicts responsible. A list of problem gamblers’ symptoms will be included as well, to help staff in identifying addicts.

The paper reveals that the main aim of the policy is to promote responsible gambling between stakeholders, and ensure that the community is healthy and that the gambling industry is sustainable and vibrant. The industry provides for estimates between $4billion and $11 billion to the community. The group says that a detailed risk analysis and cost benefit must be implemented while ideas are assessed. This also reiterates the importance of training courses like Responsible Service of Gambling.

It also reveals that estimated social costs and prevalence rates associated with gambling are lower than public health problems such as smoking, obesity, problem drinking, illicit use of drugs and mental illness. Thus, a more precise policy is needed. The paper also says that consideration must be given to the business compliance expenses of new rules.