Liquor licensing in South Australia is currently going through three stages of major reform. Many changes have already come into effect, but the most substantial changes, including those relating to the types of liquor licences that are available will come into effect this year.
Not only will the licence types be changing but many of the existing conditions on current licences will be removed or amended.
New licence types
Later this year, liquor licences will be transitioned from their current type to the new types of licences as follows:
|Old licence types||New licence types|
|Hotel licence||General and hotel licence|
|Residential licence||Residential licence|
|Restaurant licence||Restaurant and catering licence|
|Entertainment venue licence||On premises licence|
Limited club licence
|Retail liquor merchant's licence
Direct sales licence
|Packaged liquor sales licence|
|Wholesale liquor merchant's licence
|Liquor production and sales licence|
|Small venue licence||Small venue licence|
The biggest change will be to Special Circumstances Licences which will be abolished. As a general rule, they will be re-categorised as follows:
If the licence currently includes gaming, it will become a General & Hotel Licence;
If it includes consumption off premises, it will become a Packaged Liquor Sales licence;
If it has other miscellaneous conditions, it will likely become an On Premises Licence.
Changes to licence conditions
The conditions on almost all licences are also being revised. Examples of the changes include:
Only one set of hours will apply to the whole premises instead of different hours for various sections. It will then be on the licensee to ensure they are still complying with any Development Approval or lease conditions.
One overall capacity. Again, it will be licensee’s responsibility to ensure that is complies with any regulations relating to overcrowding.
Conditions relating to areas outside of the licenced premises for example CCTV, security, and noise will all be removed as they are not within the scope of the Commissioner’s powers.
Conditions relating to noise, notification to parties, entertainment consent will all be removed.
There will likely be an overarching condition that the licensee must comply with any orders of the Commissioner and any undertakings. This will mean any undertakings or agreements between parties such as neighbours will no longer appear on the licences themselves. This will also mean that such conditions will not continue when licences are transferred as the undertakings or agreements were only made as between the parties at the time.
A new fee structure will be introduced shortly and a calculator will be available on the CBS website. Fees will now be calculated based on some of the following criteria:
Whether there are high risk activities or the premises are in a high risk location.
Whether gaming is included.
Whether consumption off premises is allowed.
The process of transitioning to new licence types will commence this month (March) and will continue until November. Some of the key dates that licence holders should be aware of are as follows:
March 2019 – licensees will be notified by email or by post of their new licence category and new fee structure (this is certainly the case for special circumstances licence holders, but possibly for all licences).
14 June 2019 – deadline for special circumstances licence holders to review proposed new licence and notify CBS of any objections or if they believe another licence category would be more suitable.
June 2019 – the CBS online portal is set to go live – at that time, licensees can begin to transition to their new licences (the licences will not become active until November).
14 October 2019 – deadline for licensees to review new licences and conditions and object before they will go live in November.
The CBS online portal will go live in June. Licensees are being contacted from now, and they will receive a username and password.
Once the new licence types are online, licensees will need to review and go through a process of considering the new conditions. They will need to click through and agree along the way. If they don’t agree, they can seek legal advice or contact CBS.
Where to from here?
It is essential that licence holders review any documentation received from the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner or Consumer & Business Services as soon as possible.