Liquor & Gaming NSW licence conundrum delays Newcastle rum bar’s launch to 2019

A Newcastle small bar hopingto be open before the summer holidays has been dealt a blow by the state’s government’s liquor agency, which has pushedthe bar’sliqour licence review backuntil late January.

Blue Kahunas, a tiki bar in Hunter Street mall, is owned by Prudence Farquhar and Byron Marzinotto, who have been setting up their business since July.

They opened with a temporary liquor licence during the Newcastle 500 and had targeted opening as soon as possible after their licence review on Wednesday.

But on the day of their scheduled review from theIndependent Liquor & Gaming Authorityboard, which usually meets only once a month, the couple were told they needed to assess and return two sections of paperwork not previously required with applications.

Despite assembling the required paperwork, they were knocked off the day’s list of scheduled reviews and denied the chance to receive the final tick of approval to open thebusiness.

“It’s been a bit of a nightmare,” MsFarquharsaid.

HELD BACK: Business owners Prudence Farquhar and Byron Marzinotto at Blue Kahunas in Hunter Street mall. Picture: Simone De Peak

”We found out at 8am [Wednesday] that it was no longer being reviewed due to a last-minute requirement that was passed [Tuesday] afternoon. [Wednesday] was meant to be the day we were getting reviewed.

“We’re not going to get reviewed until the 23rdof January now, and we can’t officially trade until seven days after that approval, so seven weeks until we can officially open.

“We’re just a small business trying to open up, and that’s all we’re waiting on.”

A spokesperson for Liquor & Gaming NSW did not explain why earlier notification of the extra requirements was not provided.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW was not able to progress the application earlier due to the applicant not providing all the required information,” the spokesperson said.

“The matter has also been delayed by the need to give the applicant an opportunity to respond to certain issues. This was to ensure procedural fairness to the applicant.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW is continuing to try to get the application determined before Christmas.”

MsFarquharsaid it was disappointing to not open before the new year given the city’s revitalisation.

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