By James Atkinson
The New South Wales Government’s decision to increase fees for liquor licence applications, approvals and authorisations with almost immediate effect has been met with disbelief by the packaged liquor sector.
The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) last week announced fee hikes effective from September 1, including a $500 increase to the applications for new packaged liquor licences and a $200 increase for changing the licensee of an existing licence.
OLGR executive director Paul Newson said most of the application fees had not changed in over five years.
“Some have not changed for over 30 years. Currently, the application fee recovers less than 30 per cent of the cost of actually processing an application,” he said.
But Liquor Stores Association NSW executive director Michael Waters questioned whether cost recovery was really behind the fee increases, which were announced “with no stakeholder consultation nor forewarning”.
“Given the recent introduction of the annual so-called ‘risk-based’ licence fee scheme, one could be excused for thinking that this has moved beyond cost recovery to simply revenue raising as clearly the $9 million-plus that the Government will raise in ‘base’ annual risk-based licence fees is not enough!” he told TheShout.
A table is available on the OLGR website, which shows the fee changes effective from September 1, 2014.