Liquor Law reforms

Government proposes reforms for South Australia’s liquor laws
 
On 30 November 2015, former Supreme Court Justice, the Honourable Timothy Anderson QC, was appointed by the Deputy Premier to conduct an independent review of South Australia’s liquor licensing framework.
 
Mr Anderson handed down his “Report of the Review of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997” (the Report) on 29 June 2016. 
 
The Report contains 129 recommendations for extensive and far reaching changes to the liquor licensing regime in South Australia.
 
A copy of the Report is available via the following link:
 
http://www.agd.sa.gov.au/sites/agd.sa.gov.au/files/documents/Liquor%20licensing/Anderson%20Report%20Review%20of%20Liquor%20Licensing%20Act%201997_June%202016.pdf
 
The South Australian Government has now prepared a detailed response to the recommendations of the Report which can be found via the following link:
 
http://www.agd.sa.gov.au/sites/agd.sa.gov.au/files/documents/Liquor%20licensing/Liquor%20Licensing%20Review%20-%20Government%20Response.pdf

In summary, the Government has accepted (either in whole or in part) a number of the 129 recommendations in the Report.  This includes, amongst other things, recommendations to:
 
  • Streamline the application process for a new liquor licence;
  • Change the existing categories of liquor licences;
  • Remove restrictions on the sale of liquor on Sundays, Christmas Day, Good Friday and New Year’s Eve;
  • Retain the 3am lock-out in pubs and clubs under the Late Night Code for at least another two to three years;
  • Replace the “needs test” in sections 58 and 61 of the Act with a “Community Impact and Public Interest Test” to apply to certain high risk categories of licence, with a discretion for the Licensing Authority to include other applications; and
  • Substantially increase annual liquor licence fees based on the comparative fees payable by licensees in other Australian States and Territories.

 
Consideration of the extension of small venue licences beyond the Adelaide CBD has been be deferred pending the Government’s consolidation and review of the effect of the proposed changes.
 
In the meantime, Mr Anderson has also been commissioned to conduct a review into the gambling regulatory framework and how this overlaps with the liquor licensing framework. 
 
Further information on the above can be found via the following link:
 
http://www.agd.sa.gov.au/initiatives/review-of-sa-liquor-laws

Patrick Connelly

6 December 2016