Go to top of page

Liquor licensing reform

Reforms to South Australia’s liquor laws will be implemented in stages, including industry licensing changes and new supply of alcohol to minors laws.

Reforms to South Australia’s liquor laws passed Parliament on 14 November 2017.

Sign up for updates

Sign up to the industry mailing list to keep up-to-date with announcements, consultation opportunities and changes.

Sign up to the mailing list

The Act

The Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017 passed Parliament on 14 November 2017. 

What is happening right now?

The first stage of reforms commenced on 18 December 2017.

Supply of alcohol to minors

The law has changed, with stronger penalties for people who illegally supply alcohol to anyone under 18.

Big parties and events will be targeted, where large groups of teenagers are supplied with alcohol. The focus will be organised events, which is any event with an entry fee.

Parents and caregivers can still allow their underage teen to drink at a range of locations, so long as there is responsible supervision.

Find out more about the changes, and how they affect parents and teenagers:

Industry licensing changes

A number of licensing changes commenced on 18 December 2017. The changes aim to create more efficient processes for industry.

Licence-holders can continue to operate under the new laws without needing an updated licence.

Trading hours

Hotel, club and special circumstances licences

Holders of hotel, club and special circumstances licences have more flexibility in trading hours on Sundays without needing extended trading authorisation:

  • hotel licence: consumption on premises 8am - 12 midnight and consumption off premises 8am - 9pm
  • club licence: consumption on premises 8am - 12 midnight
  • special circumstances licence: consumption on or off premises 8am -12 midnight.

Trading hours for Monday to Saturday remain the same.

Trading extensions occurred automatically on 18 December and apply to all existing liquor licences.

Licensed premises must still follow the conditions of their development approval, and any conditions or approvals made under other legislation.

No changes to gaming 

Changes to trading hours do not impact obligations under gaming licences. 

 Entertainment consent 

Licensed venues no longer need consent from Consumer and Business Services to host a range of entertainment, including music and comedy.

Consent is still required for prescribed entertainment such as boxing, martial arts and sexually explicit entertainment.

Licence-holders can disregard conditions of their liquor licence, including conditions that:

  • restrict the number of live music performers
  • limit the locations where entertainment can occur, including the placement of loudspeakers (eg balconies and outdoor areas)
  • limit the times when live musicians and DJs can perform
  • limit the types of music that musicians and DJs can perform
  • disallow nightclubs, discos and rock band venues (and related advertising)
  • refer to Karaoke
  • place a decibel limit on noise.

Conditions that were set before 18 December 2017 due to a noise complaint no longer apply.

Conditions and approvals imposed on licensed premises by other Acts, such as approvals under the Development Act 1993, will not be affected by the changes and will continue to apply.

In addition, licence holders must continue to obey the Codes of Practice, such as the Late Night Trading Code of Practice and the General Code of Practice. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent undue noise and disturbance to people who live and work in the area, and taking steps to ensure public order and safety.

 Temporary approval of responsible persons

Temporary approval of a responsible person is now available for up to 6 months, while the employee undertakes the responsible person vetting process.

This allows employees to start work faster, without businesses needing to wait for approval.

Applications to become a responsible person remain the same, with temporary approval being granted once the relevant forms have been lodged.

Individuals can now also apply to become a responsible person, while previously applications could only be made by the licensee employing the person.

The Liquor and Gambling Commissioner can revoke approval of a responsible person at any time. 

Licence-holders can search whether a responsible person is approved, temporarily approved or revoked on the Consumer and Business Services website.

 Exemptions for low-risk businesses 

Low-risk businesses no longer require a liquor licence to give their clients a drink.

Exempt businesses can sell or supply liquor without a licence in certain circumstances, including:

  • hairdressers and barbers
  • cruise ships
  • retirement villages
  • businesses selling gifts
  • jewellers
  • patient care accommodation.

The current licence exemption for bed and breakfast style accommodation has also been extended. For example, bed and breakfasts with a capacity of up to 16 guests can now supply alcohol without a licence under certain conditions, while previously this was limited to 8 guests.

 Other measures

A number of other measures also came into effect on 18 December 2017:

  • abolishing the requirement for some licensed businesses to provide meals at the request of a member of the public or a lodger
  • removal of designated dining areas, reception areas and sampling areas
  • removal of most notification and advertising requirements that currently apply to licence applications
  • administrative changes to simplify the appointment of inspectors, clarify definitions and allow the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to publish determinations and exclude information where appropriate.
 Future consultation

Further targeted consultation will occur in 2018, focussing on the new fee structure and aspects of the licensing regime, including:

  • new classes of licence, in particular details of the short term licence class
  • the seizure of evidence of age documents
  • disciplinary action before the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner for certain matters
  • minors on licensed premises.