The New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) recently released a fact sheet for liquor licensees detailing the reforms which were passed by Parliament last week Friday. The changes were implemented so swiftly in a large part due to the mounting pressure the government was receiving from the public to act to reduce violence in Sydney’s night life districts.
The Liquor Amendment Bill 2014 was passed by the NSW Parliament last week amidst strong opposition from licensees and the legal fraternity. The amended laws will introduce a host of measures that are aimed at improving safety in Sydney’s entertainment district by tackling alcohol and drug fuelled violence.
Although the government has been criticised for moving so swiftly in implementing the new measures, the OLGR said “preparation and consultation is underway to ensure its effective implementation” to allow the industry enough time to adjust the way it does business to incorporate the new measures and establish appropriate changes to its practices and procedures.
The most notable changes that will apply once the legislation commences includes:
No take-away liquor after 10pm anywhere in NSW;
Suspension of the trial of online RSA training;
The creation of a new Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct;
“Lock-outs” at 1.30am and “Last drinks” at 3am for some venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct and the Kings Cross Precinct;
A freeze on new liquor licences in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct;
Temporary and Long-term banning order provisions in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct; and
Suspension or revocation of an RSA competency card or disqualification of a person from holding an RSA competency card, for staff in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct.
The strict new measures targeting drug and alcohol fuelled violence will officially begin on February 24th 2014 – giving licensees little time to adapt, many of which say their business will suffer severe negative financial implications which may not allow their businesses to survive. Others welcomed the new measures which they believed would help attract the right customers and keep the wrong element out of their venues.
Some of the other measures to implemented include an annual risk-based licensing fee scheme for liquor licenses and additional special licence conditions on venues in the district as determined as the article on TheShout.com.au goes on to explain
Development of a plan of management for the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, which will impose additional special licence conditions on venues in the Precinct
An annual risk-based licensing fee scheme for liquor licences.
The OLGR said it will continue to notify affected liquor licensees and other key stakeholders of developments, including the commencement date of each of the reforms.
In the meantime night time revellers can expect 1.30am alcohol lockouts and 3am last drinks while the whole of NSW will have a ban on takeaway alcohol after 10pm as of the 24th of this month.