The Berejiklian Government has launched LiveData, a tool with up-to-date information on liquor licences held around the state, as well as alcohol-related crime statistics per area.
The new online tool, operated by Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW), allows the public to easily search the latest liquor licence information alongside demographic, alcohol-related crime and health data for every suburb and Local Government Area in the state.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello, said that the tool would be beneficial to industry operators and local communities alike.
“LiveData brings together multiple data categories from a range of government sources in one centralised, easy-to-use portal, giving everyone easy access to the latest data on liquor-related information in their local area,” stated Mr Dominello.
“This will improve transparency around liquor licence applications and empower communities to respond to local challenges.”
The tool uses the same data the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) uses when considering liquor licence applications.
LiveData is expected to be helpful to operators in making liquor licence applications, giving them a fuller picture of the surrounding area, and assisting in identifying potential risks of alcohol-related harm in a community. The information can be used to modify or improve an application in response to those risks. Liquor accord members can use LiveData to inform accord strategies that address any identified issues.
“This interactive tool gives stakeholders a bird’s-eye view of liquor licences so they can make more informed decisions,” stated Mr Dominello.
“This will make it simpler and quicker for residents and other stakeholders to understand local alcohol-related trends if they wish to make a submission on a liquor licence application.
“The information will also help applicants develop a plan of management that provides a safe environment for patrons and addresses any concerns raised by the local community.”
The data in the tool will be updated as it becomes available from the likes of the Australian Bureau of Statistics and NSW HealthStats. Licensing data is updated monthly.
The Australian Hotels Association NSW (AHA NSW) was one of a few industry associations which was involved in the testing of LiveData, and suggests its a one-stop-shop for information that is already available to anyone.
“It is publicly available information, put into one repository. So it’s made the information available in one spot, just for convenience, which will make lives easier for liquor licensing solicitors and others,” stated John Green, director of liquor and policing.
“It does give venues the opportunity to see the information that will be used to assess their application rather than being in the dark. It’s the information that ILGA uses, so it does make it clearer for operators.”
Retail Drinks is cautiously supportive of the intent behind the tool, but warns that the inclusion of alcohol-related crime information can improperly skew the risk profile for an off-premise liquor licence.
“Retail Drinks supports the intention of the NSW Government’s LiveData Product in ensuring that decisions regarding liquor licensing are informed and underpinned by the most up-to-date available evidence.
“Whilst LiveData’s collection and presentation of data by suburb and Local Government Areas (LGAs) is a positive step forward, we know that liquor licensing, especially in relation to the off-premises environment, is informed by a complex range of issues and factors which have not yet been reflected in the existing data available within the LiveData Product,” stated acting CEO Michael Waters.
“In particular, we would seek to ensure that the LiveData Product does not portray an inaccurate risk profile of packaged liquor licences or lead to a false assumption or presupposition that an increased density of packaged liquor licences in a certain suburb or LGA equates to increased harm or an increased risk of harm.
“There is a wide variety of contributing and mitigating factors influencing the incidences of crime in any one given area which do not currently feature as part of the LiveData product, such as policing presence and capacity, availability of rehabilitation services and education programs, drug misuse and mental health issues.
Waters stated that Retail Drinks would continue the State Government in refining LiveData as needed.
“We are committed to working constructively and proactively with the NSW Government to further review and refine the LiveData Product to ensure that the dynamics of the liquor retailing industry are accurately reflected and that the complexities of the liquor licensing environment are captured to the fullest possible extent.”
Green noted that while not all of the data related to offences may be relevant to hotels, the information is all publicly available elsewhere.
While LiveData currently only contains data related to liquor applications, inclusion of gaming-related data is planned for the future.