Licence Relief

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Steel Tree @ Sunset owner Clint Wilcox and Bree Mitchell stand out the front of the store.
Camera IconSteel Tree @ Sunset owner Clint Wilcox and Bree Mitchell stand out the front of the store. Credit: Supplied/S

The State Government introduced a new liquor licensing law last week, aimed at helping restaurants and cafes stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Friday, businesses can apply for a six-month occasional liquor license which lets them sell a limited amount of alcohol, one bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer or pre-mixed spirits, with a takeaway meal.

Many businesses in the Peel region will benefit from these new laws and Steel Tree @ Sunset bar manager Bree Mitchell said before the laws were introduced, thousands of dollars in revenue was being lost through lack of alcohol sales.

“Up until last week, all alcoholic beverages on hand for licensed restaurants, cafes and small bars were deemed dead revenue,” she said.

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“For the majority, thousands of dollars worth of non-refundable stock was just sitting in storage until who knows how long.

“With our Government offering this licence to small businesses like our own, it opens up a whole window, allowing the opportunity to increase our revenue.”

Ms Mitchell said broken down, the average price of a single take-away meal was $15, which meant the average family of four would spend $60.

With the new liquor licence in place, Ms Mitchell said families could spend an extra $50 to $60 an order.

This could be enough to pay someone’s wages and the cost of goods at the same time as well as enabling businesses to move thousands of dollars worth of dead revenue sitting at their premises,” she said.

“It will also enable us to order from and support our local producers and suppliers. This really has had a huge ripple effect.”

Ms Mitchell said even with the new laws, the business could not afford to keep their casual staff on board.

“Between the two premises, Steel Tree @ Sunset and Steel Tree @ The Foreshore, over 30 casual employees have been let go,” she said.

“The owner is an incredible man. He possesses a passion to make sure his staff are well looked after, his customers are always happy and a love for the industry as a whole.

“At the beginning of last week he had to have a heart-wrenching conversation with his staff, as did many other businesses all over Australia.”

She said many of the remaining staff at the business, including herself, had sacrificed their usual positions, wages and hours out of pure determination and support for the owner.

“Due to restrictions on liquor licensing and sales, my position as bar manager is no longer deemed necessary. I am now assisting with whatever role is available to me on a day to day basis,” she said.

“I cannot define how many hours exactly that I have lost as going from an employee on salary to a casual employee doesn’t guarantee me a set amount of hours.

“To be honest it doesn’t even guarantee me a position in the near future. Its all going to depend on how much support we receive from our community and government throughout this time.”

Ms Mitchell said Steel Tree @ Sunset would continue to fight hard, until they were forced to completely close their doors.

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