Overview of recent changes to the Liquor Act for licensees
On Friday 4 March 2016, the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Act 2016 came into effect. On 9 March 2017, the Liquor and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 received assent and became the Liquor and Other Legislation Act 2017. This results in a number of changes to the Liquor Act that liquor licensees need to be aware of.
Changes to liquor legislation that have commenced
As a result of assent on 4 March 2016, the following Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Amendment Legislation Act 2016 items are now in effect:
- New extended trading hours approvals for takeaway alcohol after 10pm are prohibited.
- Acceptable evidence of age for the purposes of purchasing liquor has been clarified.
- Community clubs are allowed to sell takeaway liquor to signed-in visitors or guests of members or reciprocal members.
- Providers of floral arrangements and gift baskets are exempt from needing a risk-assessed management plan (RAMP).
- Duplication across the incident register and crowd controller register is removed for Brisbane licensees.
- The Commissioner must notify an approved manager's employer when the approved manager's approval has been suspended or cancelled.
- An investigator can require a person to produce documents that are relevant to the administration or enforcement of the Liquor Act.
- The results of a breath test analysis are admissible as evidence in prosecutions against a licensee (as supplementary evidence) where there is other evidence to suggest a licensee may have committed an offence.
- The regulation-making power in relation to Risk Assessment Management Plans (RAMPs) is reinstated.
- Reduced extended trading hours, including changes for safe night precinct licensees.
- Sale or supply of high-alcohol content drinks is prohibited from 12 midnight.
- New applications for extended trading hours for gaming can only be sought up to 2 hours past the end of alcohol trade.
- Licensees must seek Commissioner approval to use a car park as a licensed area.
- Liquor cannot be taken into or away from an event that is subject to a commercial public event permit or a community liquor permit.
- Craft brewers can apply to sell their product at promotional events.
- The number of one-off extended trading hour permits (after midnight) that venues can apply for has been reduced from 12 to 6. The criteria for, and frequency of, approvals has been tightened.
Changes to liquor legislation that are yet to commence
- Networked ID scanners for venues that trade after 12 midnight within safe night precincts will commence from 1 July 2017, unless the venue is operating under an exempt class of licence. Please read on for more information.
This is preliminary information and we will continue to update this page. You can also subscribe to the Responsible Service Newsletter to receive updates from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), including licensing and compliance requirements in-line with the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Act 2016.
The legislation proposing the introduction of a 1am lock out for ‘3am safe night precincts’ from 1 February 2017 has now been repealed and the proposal will not proceed.
Licensees of premises that permanently trade past 12 midnight within safe night precincts will be required to install networked ID scanners by 1 July 2017. Details on the operating requirements, when they will be available through a Queensland Government approved operator, and privacy obligations will be available in the near future.
For more information, read Use of ID scanning at licensed venues.
Changes to trading hours
Ordinary and extended trading hours for liquor and gaming have changed. This applies to existing licences and permits, as well as new applications.
Reduced trading hours for licensed venues outside of safe night precincts
From 1 July 2016, the service of alcohol in licensed premises in Queensland ceased at 2am. Venues can remain open beyond 2am to serve food, non-alcoholic beverages and to provide entertainment. Patrons have a 30-minute grace period after last drinks are called to finish their alcoholic beverages.
Therefore, if you had approved extended trading hours (for example, to sell alcohol until 5am) these trading hours were automatically reduced to 2am, from 1 July 2016. If your approved trading hours ended before 2am prior to 1 July, they did not change. For example, if you were approved to trade until 1am the changes do not mean your trading hours were extended to 2am on 1 July 2016. Your trading hours remain as ceasing at 1am.
Reduced trading hours for licensed venues within safe night precincts
Late-trading venues located in safe night precincts are able to sell alcohol until 3am. Venues in a safe night precinct can remain open beyond 3am to serve food, non-alcoholic beverages and to provide entertainment. Patrons have a 30-minute grace period after last drinks are called to finish their alcoholic beverages.
If you had approved extended trading hours (for example, to sell alcohol until 5am), prior to 1 July 2016, these trading hours were automatically reduced to 3am on 1 July 2016.
Exemptions to reduced trading hours
Reduced trading hours do not apply to:
- casinos, licensed premises in airports and industrial canteens
- room service to accommodation areas which form part of a licensed area
- gaming machines and wagering for existing licences - from 1 July 2016, venues can continue to offer gaming in accordance with their existing licence conditions. (For example, if a venue was permitted to have gaming machines operating until 5.30am prior to 1 July 2016, this has not changed).
Applying for approved extended liquor trading hours
If a venue wants to sell alcohol after 12 midnight, and is not currently approved to do so, they still need to apply for extended trading hours approval.
Changes to approved extended trading hours for gaming
As of 1 July 2016, new applications for extended trading hours for gaming can only be sought up to 2 hours past the end of alcohol trade. For example, if you are authorised to sell alcohol until 3am, you can apply for gaming until 5am.
The hours conditioned on a gaming licence that was in place before 1 July 2016 have not changed. For example, if a venue was permitted to have gaming machines operating until 5.30am, this has not changed.
Extended trading hours for bottle shops
OLGR will not grant new approvals for trading hours beyond 10pm for the sale of takeaway alcohol. Outlets currently approved to sell alcohol past 10pm will not be impacted - their current trading hours will remain in place.
Ban on rapid intoxication drinks after 12 midnight
On 4 March 2016, the Queensland Government amended the Liquor Act 1992 (Liquor Act) to prohibit the sale or supply of rapid intoxication drinks that pose a high risk of alcohol-related harm.
A statutory ban prohibits the sale or supply of rapid intoxication drinks between 12 midnight and 5am for venues authorised to trade past midnight. Under the Liquor Act, a rapid intoxication drink is one that is designed to be consumed rapidly or contains a high percentage of alcohol, and is prescribed by regulation.
The drinks to be banned have now been prescribed in the Liquor Regulation. This came into effect on 1 July 2016.
Prescribed rapid intoxication drinks
As of 1 July 2016, the prescribed rapid intoxication drinks include:
- a drink served in a small glass or container such as shooters, shots, bombs, test tubes, jelly shots, and other similar drinks
- a drink prepared on the premises that contains more than 45ml of spirits or liqueur
- a pre-mixed alcoholic drink containing more than 5% of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or containing more ethanol than 2 standard drinks. A pre-mixed drink must fall within both the 5% alcohol by volume threshold and the 2 standard drinks threshold in order to be served after midnight.
Note: The Liquor Regulation 2002 notes a pre-mixed alcoholic drink as 'an alcoholic mixed drink prepared by a manufacturer'.
Exemptions from the ban on rapid intoxication drinks
Cocktails are exempt from the ban on rapid intoxication drinks during the restricted period, provided the cocktail:
- is listed on a document (cocktail menu) prepared by the licensee and displayed on the premises listing the cocktails that may be sold in the venue
- price is listed on the cocktail menu
- is not sold for less than the amount specified on the menu after 12 midnight
- is not designed for rapid consumption (for example, cocktail shooters are not exempt).
Airports and casinos are exempt from the statutory ban.
Penalties for selling or supplying rapid intoxication drinks after 12 midnight
Sale or supply of rapid intoxication drinks during the restricted period will result in a penalty of $12,190 (100 units) current as of 1 July 2016.
Takeaway alcohol and samples
The Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Act 2016 allows for the sale and sampling of a licensee’s craft beer at promotional events. It also introduced changes regarding taking alcohol to and/or from community clubs and some public events.
Selling craft beer at promotional events
Small craft beer producers that hold a producer/wholesaler liquor licence in Queensland (and holders of an equivalent liquor licence in another state) will be allowed to sell their own craft beer at promotional events, such as food and wine festivals. These small producers will be able to apply to:
- sell craft beer, for takeaway, at a promotional event
- supply craft beer as a free-of-charge sample at an event.
Takeaway alcohol from community clubs
As of 4 March 2016, community clubs are allowed to sell takeaway alcohol to visitors, guests of members and guests of reciprocal club members. However, visitors must reside outside of Queensland, or at least 15km from the club.
Taking alcohol into (or away from) certain public events
Patrons are prohibited from taking alcohol into, or away from, any activity conducted under a community liquor permit or commercial public events permit.
Some liquor products exempt from Liquor Act
As of 4 March 2016, food additives (and substances used as ingredients in food preparation) are no longer subject to the Liquor Act. This exclusion does not apply if the substance is being used as a beverage or for manufacturing a beverage; for example, table wine that is packaged and labelled as cooking wine would not be exempt.
From 4 March 2016, late-trading licensees within the Brisbane City Council area only need to enter an incident into the incident register if it is not recorded in the crowd controller register, as required under the Security Provider’s Act. This removes duplication.
Investigator's power to formally request documents
From 4 March 2016, investigators have the power to give written notice to licensees to produce documents relevant to administering and enforcing the Act.
Risk-assessed management plans
From 4 March 2016, holders of subsidiary off-premises licences, where the principal activity is providing floral arrangements or gift baskets, do not need to complete a risk-assessed management plan (RAMP).
Acceptable evidence of age
Effective from 4 March 2016, the types of identification that are considered acceptable evidence of age have been clarified, as has the fact that the identification must be current.
- Last reviewed: 10 Apr 2017
- Last updated: 01 Jun 2017