Cheaper liquor licences on the way in the ACT

B2B Editor26 March 2017

Cheaper liquor licences on the way in the ACT

Liquor licences for small venues will be reduced by 25 per cent because of key legislation introduced in the Legislative Assembly by Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay late last week.

The Liquor Amendment Bill 2017 will promote the vibrancy of Canberra’s nightlife precincts, improve safety for Canberrans who want to enjoy a night out, and cut red tape in the hospitality sector.

The reform package will come with a 25 percent fee reduction for small venues. The fee reduction recognises the unique contribution that small venues make to Canberra’s night economy, and will promote the development of unique, fun and interesting venues.

Licensees will now have a statutory power to evict or refuse entry to intoxicated, violent or disorderly patrons and it will be an offence for people evicted or refused entry to licensed premises to remain in their vicinity.

“These amendments will strengthen the existing harm minimisation measures in the Territory’s liquor legislation and give licensees appropriate powers to deal with difficult patrons,” Mr Ramsay said.

“These are important and necessary legislative changes that will address the issue of alcohol-related harm in our community and ensure patrons can safely enjoy Canberra’s vibrant nightlife.”

The Bill will introduce a number of other new harm reduction reforms, including:

  • amending the definition of ‘intoxicated’ in the Act to include intoxication arising from drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol;
  • providing an express power for the Commissioner for Fair Trading to impose a licence condition requiring the licensee to fit security cameras at or around a licensed venue;
  • clarifying that the Commissioner can impose particular harm reduction conditions on a licence (for example, prohibiting the use of glass or sale of shots after midnight); and
  • extending the Attorney-General’s power to declare prohibited alcohol products, which will allow the sale and consumption of potentially harmful products to be restricted.

The reforms in this Bill combine red tape reduction and small business enhancement with a series of public safety measures to promote a diverse and vibrant nightlife in our cool little capital

The safety measures introduced by the Bill will be supported by the Government’s commitment to fund six additional police officers for night-time patrols to better combat alcohol-related violence in the ACT.

Big businesses that purchase $3 million or more of alcohol per year will have at least a 5 per cent increase in licensing fees. The additional funds raised by this increase will fund an education campaign about the responsible consumption of alcohol.

The Bill will introduce a number of new measures designed to reduce unnecessary regulation for existing and prospective licensees.

This includes amending liquor legislation so licensees can be issued with perpetual liquor licences, replacing the existing one and three-year licences.

“The existing arrangements mean licensees are regularly required to complete and submit time-consuming licence renewal applications, creating unnecessary work and red tape both for licensees and for Access Canberra,” Mr Ramsay said.

Another key reform included in the Bill will allow licensees to have six extended trading authorisations each year, permitting them to trade outside their usual licensed hours for special events.

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