Australia to call time on 'beer wenches'

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The Independent Online

The Australian authorities are planning to crack down on the phenomenon of "beer wenches" - women paid to fetch drinks during sports events - because they believe it encourages drunkenness.

The women, often scantily clad, act as bar runners during events such as the rugby World Cup, enabling patrons to watch the action. But the New South Wales state government said employing "wenches" - typically at £25 an hour - sent the wrong message, associating sport with alcohol abuse.

Grant McBride, the state Gaming minister, said: "I'm convinced patrons are more likely to have too much to drink if they don't have to leave their seats."Mr McBride said there were plans to review licence conditions and outlaw "wenches" at big stadiums.

But Murray Schultz, founder of the Beerwench company, said the women were important. "If it becomes someone's shout [round] and it's 10 minutes to go, they get furious and they would rather get someone else to go and do it for them."

Another firm, Sex Bomb Promotions, said staff were trained to serve alcohol responsibly. "If a group of guys is keen to have a few, they will have a few whether or not the girl goes and gets it for them."

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