Liquor licensees and organised crime
Changes to the Liquor Act 1992 through the passing of the Serious and Organised Crime Legislation Amendment Act 2016 resulted in various minor amendments that licensees across Queensland should be aware of.
Licensees and staff no longer risk penalties if they do not remove, refuse or exclude a person wearing or carrying prohibited items, as long as they took reasonable steps do so, or if they reasonably believed it was not safe or practical to do so.
Under these laws 'declared criminal organisation' has been replaced with 'identified organisation'.
The probity process for individuals or businesses to obtain a liquor licence remains as extensive but the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming cannot refuse or cancel a licence, permit or approval because an organisation or entity are 'alleged' to be an identified organisation or a participant of an identified organisation.
Wearing or carrying prohibited items
Under the Summary Offences Act 2005 it is illegal for a person to enter a licensed venue if they are wearing or carrying prohibited items.
Prohibited items are defined in section 173EA of the Liquor Act.
A prohibited item includes an item of clothing or jewellery or an accessory that displays:
- the name of an identified organisation
- the club patch, insignia or logo of an identified organisation (i.e. 'colours')
- any image, symbol, abbreviation, acronym or other form of writing that indicates membership of, or an association with, an identified organisation, including
- the symbol '1%'
- the symbol '1%er'
- any other image, symbol, abbreviation, acronym or other form of writing prescribed under the Liquor Act.
As a licensee or staff member you can be fined up to $15,480 for knowingly allowing a person wearing or carrying prohibited items to enter or remain on the premises. Under these laws, you do not commit an offence and will not be fined if you have taken reasonable steps to refuse, exclude or remove a person wearing 'colours', or if you reasonably believe it was not safe or practical to refuse, exclude or remove the person wearing the colours.
If at any time licensees or staff feel their safety is compromised by a patron, contact Queensland Police Service (QPS) immediately.
List of identified organisations
Under the Liquor Regulation 2002 the following entities have been declared to be identified organisations:
- Black Uhlans
- Coffin Cheaters
- Fourth Reich
- Gypsy Jokers
- Hells Angels
- Highway 61
- Iron Horsemen
- Life and Death
- Lone Wolf
- Mongrel Mob
- Muslim Brotherhood Movement
- Odins Warriors
- Red Devils
Probity process for obtaining a liquor licence
Probity tests have been strengthened to ensure new serious and organised crime offences, and the terms of a control order or recognised corresponding control order, are considered in the assessment of a person's suitability for a licence, permit or approval.
The new laws also restore appeal and review rights and enhance procedural fairness in licensing decisions by re-establishing the right of people adversely affected by a licensing decision to be given reasons for the decision.
Signage for licensed premises
We recommend licensees place compliance signs on their entry way clearly stating it is an offence for any person to wear or carry a prohibited item into the premises and entry will be refused.
Note: Licensees have a common law right to ban people from their own licensed premises and enforce their own dress codes. They should be sure of their reasons for refusal of service and these reasons should not be discriminatory (based on race, gender, etc.).
Person of interest monitoring
Under section 47C of the Liquor Act, the Commissioner of Police may notify the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming if a licensee, permittee or approval holder is charged with an offence. This is intended to facilitate ongoing monitoring of identified persons to determine if they have been charged with, and later convicted of, an offence.
We recommend that licensees and approved managers update their training procedures so that all staff are made aware of these new laws.
Read more about staff training.
Penalties for non-compliance
Significant penalties apply under the Summary Offences Act to people visibly wearing or carrying a prohibited item in a licensed premises. The following penalties are current at 1 July. The values change each year on this date.
The maximum penalty $6,192 or 6 months imprisonment for first offence, $9,288 or 9 months imprisonment for second offence and $15,480 or 12 months imprisonment for third or later offences.
Under the Liquor Act significant penalties also apply if the prohibited person refuses to leave when required, or resists an authorised person who is removing them from the premises. The maximum penalty is $15,480.
The maximum penalty for a licensee or staff member for knowingly allowing a prohibited person wearing or carrying prohibited items to enter or remain on the premises is $15,480.
- Last reviewed: 20 Jun 2019
- Last updated: 1 Jul 2023