By Ian Neubauer
NSW will see the most comprehensive changes to its liquor laws when a new liquor licencing regime comes into effect next week.
Commencing Tuesday, the Liquor Act 2007 will see greater onus of responsibility placed on licensees and patrons, and less red tape.
“The new laws are much simpler and more flexible than existing liquor laws,” reads information posted on the website of the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. “This will aid understanding while meeting the needs of the industry and community.”
The new act will also see the creation of a new Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority — an administrative-based system that will remove liquor licensing from the courts. It will deal with new applications, late-night trading and disciplinary matters, and hold jurisdiction for the imposition of strict new penalties.
Under the old regime, individuals caught supplying alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons were subject to a maximum $5500 fine, whereas the new maximum stands at $11,000 and/or a 12-month sentence.
And from July 1, patrons ejected from licensed premises must not re-enter or attempt to re-enter the premises within 24 hours. They will also be obliged to move at least 50 metres away from the premises for a period of six hours.
The new act will also empower the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing to declare lockouts and curfews under the auspices of the director, Albert Gardner.
Gardner will head a team of 25 new liquor inspectors who will carry out overt and covert operations in licensed premises and entertainment zones renown for anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime.
The team will regulate liquor sales both on- and off-premise, including sales in registered clubs. The Registered Club Act 1976 will be retained under the new regime but focus on club management and governance issues.
To see Liquor Act 2007 in all its detail, click here.