Major reforms to the Liquor Licensing Act passed by Parliament

Both Houses of Parliament have now passed the Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Bill 2017. The changes were mainly based on the review conducted by former Supreme Court Justice Tim Anderson QC, which were released last year.
These amendments have two focusses; tougher laws in regards to the supply of alcohol to minors and removing some restraints on venues that serve alcohol and hold events.
Part 3, Division 2 of the Act which governs licences, has re-defined licensing categories with an aim to simplify the process for venues to apply for a liquor licence. There are also changes to the sale of liquor on Sundays and other public holidays such as Christmas Day, Good Friday, New Years Eve and New Years Day. For example, the new section 42A will allow venues holding a liquor licence to sell liquor on New Years Eve until 2am.
The current section 58 will be repealed, removing the ‘needs test’ for the grant of a hotel or retail liquor merchant licence. This section has been described as ‘anti –competitive’ in the past as it requires an applicant to satisfy the liquor licensing authority that the licence is ‘necessary in order to provide for the needs of the public in that locality’.
The insertion of section 110A will prohibit the supply of alcohol to minors, other than on licensed premises. Breaching this new section will incur a maximum fine of $10,000 and a conviction with an expiation fee of $500. The minor who consumes the alcohol is also guilty of an offence with the maximum penalty of $2,500. This section makes it explicit that supply to minors outside of a licensed venue is illegal, unless done so in a prescribed place, such as a residence or a church, or as prescribed by the regulations. There are also strict guidelines about supervision of minors consuming alcohol supplied by a responsible adult.
These changes are yet to be operative; however the government plans to implement them in phases after consultation with the industry.
For further information please contact Tom Game or Tom Crompton on 8212 9777.