Changes to SA Liquor Licensing Laws

Wine bottle two glasses

The Licensing Authority is currently in the process of implementing the third and final stage of reforms under the Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017.  These are the most significant changes to SA’s liquor licensing laws in over 20 years. 

As part of this process:

  • 8 new liquor licence categories are being introduced from November 2019.  These new licence categories will replace the 12 existing liquor licence categories (albeit some categories are staying the same).
  •  All licensees should have received notification (by email and/or post) from the Licensing Authority about the proposed new licence category which their liquor licences will transition to under the new legislation.
  • Below is a table summarising how the current liquor licences will be re-categorised under the new legislation:

Current Licence Categories

New Licence Categories

Hotel licence

General and Hotel Licence

Residential licence

Residential Licence (no change)

Restaurant licence

Restaurant and Catering Licence

Entertainment Venue Licence

On Premises Licence

Club Licence

Limited Club Licence

Club Licence

Retail Liquor Merchant's Licence

Direct Sales Licence

Packaged Liquor Sales Licence

Wholesale Liquor Merchant's Licence

Producer's Licence

Liquor production and sales licence

Small Venue Licence

Small venue licence (no change)

Special Circumstances Licence (SCL)

SCL’s are being abolished under the new legislation.  This means all SCL’s will transition to one of the above categories of licence (whichever fits best) depending on the nature of the licensees business.

  • The re-categorisation process may result in a variation to conditions on licences and we are currently assisting a number of clients in advising them on how the new laws will impact them.
  • The Licensing Authority has indicated that on or around 1 July 2019, they will be writing to all licensees in order to provide them with access to an online portal.  The online portal will allow licensees to log in and review their new liquor licence details.
  • The review process via the online portal will be extremely important for licensees.  Licensees will generally want to ensure that their existing trading rights are preserved.  However, licensees will also have the ability to decrease trading hours and venue capacities should they wish to do so (e.g. to lower their new annual licence fees).
  • Licensees will need to be wary of the terms of their lease which may require the landlord’s consent before any variations can be made to their licence conditions as part of the transition process.  Landlords of licensed premises will also need to be mindful of this process.
  • The Licensing Authority’s strong preference is to communicate with licensees via email about the transition process.  If licensees are not currently receiving email notifications they should contact the Liquor Licensing Reform team on 8226 8655 or to update their details.

If you would like to discuss the latest changes and how they may impact on your licensed premises please do not hesitate to contact Rinaldo D’Aloia, Patrick Connelly, Philip Foreman and Leon McEvoy.

Liquor Licensing, Hospitality and Gaming Law