By Andy Young

The Liquor Stores Association New South Wales has revealed the recommendations it has made to the Callinan Review of the state's liquor laws.

The review is looking at the laws which were introduced in February 2014 which forced take-away liquor stores across the state to close at 10pm, as well as bringing in changes to annual liquor licence fees. The laws also saw the introduction of 1.30am lock outs for licenced venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment precinct and 3am last drinks.

In its submissions LSA NSW welcomed the review and acknowledged the issues which saw the laws being introduced.

LSA NSW said: “LSA NSW and the retail liquor industry shares community concern over the human tragedy that comes from senseless violence that is sometimes alcohol-related. Our staff and family members are often at the coal face of dealing with challenging circumstances that comes with the responsibilities of selling alcohol beverages.

“It is important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that alcohol is a product which is overwhelmingly consumed in moderation by most Australians and brings well-being into people’s lives. Alcohol beverages are a legal product, have a legitimate place in the community and bring no harm to consumers or others around them when consumed responsibly and in moderation.

“The potential for harm should only be associated with irresponsible and immoderate consumption. If individuals make the choice to consume alcoholic beverages irresponsibly, their actions can have significant negative repercussions on both the consumer and the community.

“Alcohol policies should reflect society’s desire to enjoy the benefits associated with moderate consumption, whilst acknowledging the need to tackle the negative consequences associated with the misuse and irresponsible consumption of alcohol amongst a minority.

“Policy objectives should recognise the importance of a properly regulated liquor industry that is able to develop in a sustainable way, that is consistent with public interest, whereby the risk of and actual harm arising from the sale, supply and any excessive consumption of alcohol is minimised.”


The LSA NSW submission, one of more than 1800 that the Callinan Review has received, comprehensively addresses many of the issues faced by liquor store operators throughout New South Wales. It highlights the five-year statutory review of the NSW Liquor Act 2007, which was tabled in Parliament in November 2013. 

Following that review, in December 2013 former Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, George Souris, issued a press release which stated: “Government’s commitment to tailored solutions to address specific alcohol-related problems in local communities which have achieved significant success in reducing violence.

“The recent independent review of the liquor laws which advocates tailored solutions as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ response. The Government continues to consider the 91 recommendations of the liquor law review by independent reviewer Michael Foggo and will respond in the next few months.

“The Government supports to use of these powers on a case by case basis to address specific alcohol problems caused by irresponsible venues and not blanket measures that punish responsible licensees and patrons. Other local communities have achieved significant reductions in alcohol-related violence using tailored measures – not by adopting the Newcastle model”.

The LSW NSW said: "Despite the recommendation, less than a month later Premier O’Farrell announced the introduction of a comprehensive package of regulatory measures to ‘make our streets safer’, including a new State-wide 10pm take-away liquor sales restriction, to commence from late February 2014.

"In direct conflict to what the Government had said previously, this was a one-size-fits-all approach, was a blanket measure, and did punish responsible licensees and patrons. Further, introducing a number of measures at the same time makes it near impossible to determine which specific measure/s would be more or less successful than others."


As well as highlighting the many issues for liquor store retailers in NSW, the LSA NSW also made a number of recommendations to the Callinan Review.

These include:

"Automatic provision for all take-away packaged liquor licences in NSW to be entitled to up to twelve (12) extended trading occasions (until 12:00am) per year for take-away alcohol sales.

  1. Licensees would pre-determine / nominate (by means of written notification to the Regulator, as well as to local Police and other community stakeholders) which specific occasion/s they wished to apply the extended trading;
  2. There should be no fee under this provisional arrangement, however should Government determine a fee must apply, then it should be minimal;
  3. This provision would support those individual businesses who typically sold take-away alcohol beyond 10:00pm (prior to the restriction), whether this be for just one night, or more occasions, depending on their specific local community needs or requirements;
  4. The existence of such a provision would not impact those individual licensees who had never traded beyond 10:00pm for take-away alcohol sales."

"Provision for all take-away packaged liquor licences in NSW to be entitled to an exemption to trade beyond 10:00pm, on application, where there was a demonstrated need for more than twelve (12) occasions per year.

  1. Licensees with a need to trade beyond 10:00pm more than twelve (12) occasions per year would be able to apply for an exemption for additional extended trading days;
  2. An application fee would be applicable under this provisional exemption process;
  3. This provision would support individual businesses who would typically have a need to sell take-away alcohol beyond 10:00pm on more than twelve (12) occasions per year, whether this be one night, or more, depending on their specific local community needs or requirements;
  4. The existence of such a provision would not impact those individual licensees who had never traded beyond 10:00pm for take-away alcohol sales."

"This would be consistent with the current multi-occasion extended trading authorisation (MOETA) in accordance with section 49B(4) of the Liquor Act 2007, whereby an extended trading authorisation allows the sale or supply of liquor outside the standard trading period for other licence types. A MOETA allows a club, hotel, on-premises or small bar licence to trade up until 3:00am on up to 12 occasions over any 12-month period for the length of time the authorisation is held."

Regarding liquor licences the LSA NSW also recommended:

"That the base fee for packaged liquor licences reduces as the number of licences held by one particular entity increases, to reflect the reduced regulatory burden, or at the very least, remain constant (at the minimum fee), regardless of the number of packaged liquor licences held by one particular entity, consistent with how the base fees apply to other licence types.

"Provision for all packaged liquor licences to have the ability to reduce their authorised trading hours (i.e. later opening time and/or earlier closing time), on application, which would in turn result in reducing their annual liquor licence base fee, consistent with how the base fees apply to other licence types."

The Callinan review is now looking at all of the 1856 submissions received and will make its report to Parliament in August 2016.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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