The Liquor Regulation 2018

On 1 September 2018, the Liquor Regulation 2018 (2018 Regulation) will replace the Liquor Regulation of 2008. Like the 2008 Regulation, the 2018 Regulation prescribes matters necessary for the effective operation of the Liquor Act 2007 (the Act) and seeks to introduce key changes which will support responsible industry development while continuing to prioritise harm minimisation. Interestingly, the most significant difference with the 2018 Regulation are the proposed changes to the processes of community consultation during licence applications – these will be further refined before related amendments are made to the 2018 Regulation.

The key changes coming into effect from 1 September 2018 are as follows.

A new Tiered Industry Training Framework (TITF)

The Tiered Industry Training Framework (TITF) will be introduced with the new 2018 Regulation, delivering on the NSW Government’s commitment to overhaul industry training. TIFT will enable the gradual phasing in of two new training courses to promote the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and management of licensed premises.

12-month Trial for Micro-breweries and Small Distilleries

A special drink-on-premises authorisation for small-scale producers of beer, cider and spirits will be trialled in Sydney’s Inner West Local Government Area (LGA) for 12 months, allowing eligible micro-breweries and small distilleries to sell their products to the public for consumption. The trial aims to establish a state-wide licensing option, fostering a greater venue diversity across NSW and making it easier for these businesses to start up and trade in lower-risk settings.

No-cost Conversions to Small Bar Licences

All eligible on-premises and hotel (general bars) licensees can now apply to convert to a small bar licence, free of charge through a simplified conversion process. This no-cost conversion will only be available for 12 months, until 31 August 2019.

New Licensing Arrangements and Fees for Large-scale Commercial Public Events

New requirements apply for licensing commercially operated events and functions that will be open to the public or with a patron capacity of 2000 or more people on any day. These new requirements do not apply to fundraising and charity events run on behalf of non-proprietary associations where a lower cost limited licence can be attained. The new requirements include:

  • Applications to be lodged 28 days ahead of the event. Failure to do so may result in an application being refused and a late fee of $110
  • Fees payable on application are varied to $650 for limited licences for these events and $450 for a hotel function on other premises for these events
  • From 1 April 2019, applicants for limited licenses for these events will need to have successfully completed any relevant TITF courses.

More Efficient Online Licensing so Standard Restaurants and Cafes Can Trade Sooner

To make it more convenient for restaurants and cafes seeking to serve alcohol with meals, the public submission period of an on-premises licence application has been reduced from 30 to 14 days where an application has been made online. However, the shortened submissions period is not available for any restaurant or café seeking extended trading beyond midnight or an authorisation to sell liquor without meals.

New risk-based Notification Arrangements for Licensed Caterers

Licensed caterers will now be required to notify Liquor & Gaming NSW of functions they intend to cater to in addition to local police and Council. More flexible notification arrangements will also apply for caterers providing licensed services to small private functions of 100 people or less. However, caterers are expected to provide more advance notice, of 28 days, where they intend to provide licensed services at functions of 2000 or more people that will be open to the public.

Changes to Kings Cross Precinct Special Licence Conditions

From 1 September 2018, the following changes apply to the Kings Cross precinct:-

  • All designated ‘high risk’ venues in Kings Cross must ensure at least one RSA Marshal is present during the supervised trading period (Fridays, Saturdays, public holidays, and public holiday eves from midnight to 3.30am);
  • Kings Cross licensees at ‘high risk’ venues no longer require approval from Liquor and Gaming NSW for managers to be present in venues at certain times; and
  • Kings Cross licensees no longer mandated to report alcohol sales data.

Changes for On-premises Restaurant Licence Holders with a PSA

On-premises restaurants with a primary service authorisation (PSA) will no longer be required under liquor laws to record and regularly report data on their liquor and food sales or maintain special signage to reflect that they can sell liquor without a meal.

Changes to Venue Incident Register Reporting Requirements

Venues required to maintain an incident register will now also need to ensure they record incidents involving the possession or use on the premises of any suspected prohibited plant or drug. In the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts, a risk-based approach to maintaining ‘Round the Clock’ incident registers will commence meaning, packaged liquor licensees and many licensees operating under on-premises licences (excluding PSA) no longer need to maintain an incident register 24/7.

New RSA Training Requirements for ‘RSA Marshals’ across NSW

It is a requirement of the 2018 Regulation that anyone working as an ‘RSA Marshal’ across NSW must ensure they have first completed the RSA training course and hold a current RSA competency card. 

Fee Changes to Support Cost Recovery and Better Reflect Regulatory Effort

On 1 September 2018, all liquor-related application, annual licence fees and RSA training fees will be varied to reflect annual rises in inflation. A pro-rata licence fee for newly granted licences will be also be introduced from 16 March 2019.

To keep updated and/or review pending changes to the Liquor Regulation and how this may affect you and your business, please follow the below link: https://www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au/Pages/about-us/news-and-media/recent-news/Liquor-Regulation-2018-comes-into-effect-from-1-September-2018.aspx

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