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Liquor licensing reform

The government is reforming the state's liquor laws to reduce red tape and strengthen our laws to minimise alcohol related violence.

Reforms to South Australia’s liquor laws passed Parliament on 14 November 2017. Once implemented, the laws will create a safe, modern and flexible system that:

  • reflects contemporary standards and expectations
  • ensures there are adequate safeguards in place to protect the community
  • reduces red tape and administrative burden for industry.

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The Act

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

What is happening right now?

Reforms to South Australia’s liquor laws will be implemented in stages. 

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 The changes cut red tape for licensed businesses and remove outdated and irrelevant restrictions, reducing regulatory burden and creating more efficient processes for industry.

Reducing restrictions on New Year’s, Sundays and holiday
Licensed businesses can now trade until 2am on New Year’s Day, without having to make a special application to trade beyond the hours on their licence.

Venues still cannot offer free alcohol to customers after midnight, in accordance with the Late Night Trading Code of Practice.

In addition, traders are now allowed to sell liquor on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas Day, Good Friday, the day after Good Friday and New Year’s Eve according to the trading hours that apply to that day of the week.

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 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.

 Entertainment consent 

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

This makes it easier for businesses to host bands, supporting a vibrant live music scene.

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

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

 Temporary approval of responsible persons

These reforms streamline the responsible person process and support employment.

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 weeks or months 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 treat their clients to a drink, reducing administrative burden and supporting industry.

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 red-tape reduction

A number of other red-tape reduction 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 streamline 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.