Guideline 43: Approved managers
Liquor Act 1992 – Sections 155AC, 155AD, 155AE, 155AF
Present or reasonably available
Under the Liquor Act 1992 (the Act), certain licensed premises are required to have an individual licensee or approved manager:
- present or reasonably available during ordinary trading hours of 10am to 12 midnight
- present or reasonably available during approved extended trading hours between 7am and 10am
- present during any period of approved extended trading hours between 12 midnight and 5am.
The Act provides for a number of exceptions and exemptions to these requirements in recognition of the varied nature of licensed premises.
The approved manager requirements do not apply at premises:
- if liquor is served or supplied only by volunteers in a premises operating under a community club licence, community other licence, community liquor permit or restricted liquor permit
- where a promotional event is held for the sale and/or supply of craft beer under a craft beer producer permit
- if the premises is a boat or on a boat licensed under a subsidiary on-premises licence.
Exemptions for 'low risk' premises
Certain exemptions apply for low risk premises that would otherwise be subject to the approved manager requirements.
Low risk venues open after midnight
Low risk venues that trade past 12 midnight are not required to have an individual licensee or approved manager present or reasonably available during extended trading hours between 7am and 10am and before 10pm during ordinary trading hours. A licensee or approved manager must be present or reasonably available from 10pm and must be present during approved extended trading hours between 12 midnight and 5am.
Low risk venues not open after midnight
Low risk venues not open for business past 12 midnight are not required to have an individual licensee or approved manager present or reasonably available during ordinary trading hours or extended trading hours between 7am and 10am.
Read the definition of 'low risk' below.
Applying for an exemption from requirement for approved managers to be present (for individual licensees only)
An individual licensee may apply to the Commissioner for exemption from the obligation to be present or reasonably available or to take 'reasonable steps' to ensure an approved manager is present or reasonably available. The application may only be made where the licensee wishes to be absent for a continuous period of no more 3 months.
The exemption may only be granted when the licensee demonstrates they have made reasonable efforts to engage 1 or more approved managers for duty at the licensed premises and been unsuccessful.
The Commissioner must be satisfied that the premises will continue to be operated in accordance with the Act, including the risk-assessed management plan for the premises, during the licensee's absence.
For example, a licensee in a remote or rural location regularly travels to a nearby town for business reasons during the premises trading hours. No approved manager is able to be present, but in an application to the Commissioner the licensee nominates a person trained in the responsible service of alcohol to be in control of the premises during the licensee's absences.
An individual licensee of a premises with no compliance issues may apply for an ongoing exemption from the approved manager requirement for periods of absence such as annual leave.
An individual licensee cannot apply for an approved manager's approval.
Licensees are required to keep copies of the licensee's course certificates held by each approved manager employed by the licensee. Copies of the course certificates must be available for inspection by an investigator at the main licensed premises.
A low-risk premises means a premises licensed under the authority of:
- a subsidiary on-premises licence with the principal activity of meals or prepared food (i.e. restaurant or café)
- a community club licence with no more than 2,000 members
- a community other licence
- a restricted liquor permit.
An approved manager is 'present' at premises if:
- the approved manager is at the premises acting in the capacity of an approved manager
- is in control of the premises.
Being 'reasonably available'
An individual licensee, permit holder or approved manager is 'reasonably available' if the following applies:
- the individual licensee, permit holder or approved manager is readily contactable by each person involved in the service or supply of liquor at the premises
- the time reasonably needed for the licensee, permit holder or approved manager to travel from any place at which they may be present to the premises is not more than 1 hour or, if the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming has decided to extend the period of time for a particular licensee, permit holder or approved manager, the extended period of time.
- a separate approved manager (or individual licensee) for a premises must be present or reasonably available for duty for each day the non-exempt premises is open for trade
- an approved manager or individual licensee should be present for the majority of the time during the operational hours of a licensed premises, with particular regard to high-risk periods of operation which occur during ordinary trading hours.
In deciding whether to extend the period of time reasonably needed for a licensee, permit holder or approved manager to travel to be present at the premises, the Commissioner will consider:
- the principal activity, and the nature and extent of the business, conducted under the licence or permit
- the location of the premises
- the availability of trained staff for the premises.
In the case of commercial special facility licences, an approved manager must be present or reasonably available between 10am and 12 midnight for each discrete 'outlet' within the licensed area. Where an 'outlet' is trading between midnight and 10am the approved manager must be present at the 'outlet'. This applies regardless of whether all the outlets are managed by the licensee or whether the outlets are subleased to other persons.
In the case of commercial hotel licences the requirement to have an approved manager present only applies to the main premises and not to any detached bottle shops or bottle shops which may be attached to the premises. This applies in the situation where a bottle shop may be open for trade prior to the commencement of trading in the main licensed premises.
In the case of commercial other (producer/wholesaler) licences an approved manager is only required at the main licensed premises, not the storage facility.
Licensees must take 'reasonable steps' to have approved managers present or reasonably available during the specified times. What constitutes reasonable steps will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact licensees across Queensland, there may be unscheduled staff absences due to illness or quarantine that may affect a licensee's ability to have an approved manager present or reasonably available.
In these circumstances, the following non-exhaustive list of considerations will be taken into account by the regulator when assessing whether a licensee has taken reasonable steps:
- Whether the licensee had employed an appropriate number of approved managers to meet their obligations in normal circumstances, when considering the standard hours of the venue's operation.
- What actions the licensee is taking to bolster the number of approved managers over the period of the pandemic when staff illness and/or quarantine is likely to have an impact on business operations (e.g. is the licensee arranging for training and approving additional staff to receive Responsible Management of Licensed Venues (RMLV) training and apply for approval as approved managers). We acknowledge that the current broader challenges in recruiting hospitality staff may impact the licensee's success in bolstering approved manager numbers despite their best efforts.
- What other efforts have been made to build contingencies into the licensee's approved manager rostering to cover unscheduled absences.
- What efforts were made to have an alternative approved manager work in the case of an unscheduled absence due to illness and/or quarantine.
- Where an approved manager is not present during the required time periods despite efforts made by the licensee, has the licensee ensured that:
- there are still staff with relevant experience at the premises to ensure its proper operation
- there is a suitable person who can be contacted by staff for assistance in the case of an incident or situation for which they require advice or assistance. This could be an off-duty manager, a manager working at another venue operated by the licensee or an approved manager who is unable to attend due to quarantining but who can provide advice over the telephone.
Re-issued 21 January 2022
(Issued 15 June 2009; re-issued 25 February 2010; re-issued 16 October 2013; re-issued 19 August 2016; re-issued 3 May 2017)
- Last reviewed: 13 Jan 2020
- Last updated: 21 Jan 2022
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