Australia: Legislation passed to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence in Queensland

Legislation passed to tackle alcohol - fuelled violence in Queensland

Alcohol-fuelled violence has consistently been a hot topic in Australian media in recent times and one which the Queensland Government has indicated it wishes to confront. In order to address the issue, the Attorney – General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills, Yvette D'Ath introduced the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Legislation) into Parliament in November 2015 as part of an election commitment made by the Palaszczuk Government to address the damage caused to society by alcohol –fuelled violence in Queensland.

Notably, the Legislation sought to reduce allowable extended trading hours for most licensed premises in Queensland, amend the existing lockout provisions under the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) (the Liquor Act) and introduce the concept of "3 am safe night precincts" (3 am Safe Night Precincts). When the Legislation was first introduced, it received substantial opposition from the hotel and nightclub sectors and the minority Government was unsuccessful in obtaining bipartisan support for the Legislation and the backing of the 3 independent members of Parliament. As a consequence, the general industry consensus was that the legislative changes would not be passed by Parliament.

However, in light of overwhelming public outcry against the most recent senseless death of Cole Miller in Brisbane as a result of a 'coward punch', political sentiment swayed and in the early hours of 18 February 2016 the Government struck a last minute deal with Katter's Australian Party to gain support, and the Legislation was passed by the Queensland Parliament.

This means that from 1 July 2016, licensed venues that are not within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct will call last drinks at 2 am and licensed venues that are within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct, must call for last drinks at 3 am. The only change to the original Bill is that the 1 am lockout imposed on all venues within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct will now come into effect from 1 February 2017, providing these venues with time to transition to their appropriate operating model. The Legislation also removes the link between licensed gaming hours and alcohol consumption hours, however makes no change to the current restriction on gaming before 10 am. As prescribed in the Legislation, these laws will be independently reviewed in July 2018, two years after commencement.

The passing of these changes to licensing laws has come as a shock to licensees, particularly within the hotel industry, which is now grappling with the commercial impact the new legislation will have on licensed venues in Queensland.

Amendments to the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld)

Amongst other statutory amendments, the Legislation amends the Liquor Act by:

  • preventing the sale and supply of alcohol after 2 am, except in the case of premises within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct, which may trade until 3 am (upon approved application for extended trading hours), and airports and casinos with commercial special facility licences, which may still apply for extended trading to 5 am. A 30 minute grace period will continue to apply, which allows patrons to finish their drinks after last drinks are called, and licensees retain their current ability to apply for up to 12 one-off permits per year to sell or supply liquor beyond their approved liquor trading hours up to 5 am;1
  • providing for the approval of existing Safe Night Precincts as 3 am Safe Night Precincts in consultation with the local boards. Only 11 out of the 15 existing Safe Night Precincts have a local board, which is a prerequisite under the Legislation to applying to become a 3 am Safe Night Precinct. If a 3 am Safe Night Precinct is declared, licensed venues that are currently approved for liquor trading until 3 am or later will automatically be approved to sell or supply liquor until 3 am from 1 July 2016. Venues within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct that do not have approval for extended liquor trading hours but wish to trade beyond standard hours (ie after 12 midnight) may apply for extended hours permits for liquor trading up to 3 am. The Minister may revoke a 3 am Safe Night Precinct approval if the local board does not provide adequate safeguards for 3 am trading, if the local board no longer wants the precinct to trade until 3 am or if the Minister determines that continued 3 am trading would have an undue adverse effect on health, safety or amenities. If the designation as a 3 am Safe Night Precinct is revoked, the entire precinct is required to end trading at 2 am;2
  • bringing forward the existing 3 am lockout time under sections 142AA and 142AB of the Liquor Act to 1 am. The 1 am lockout provisions apply to all liquor suppliers in a 3 am Safe Night Precinct who trade after 1 am, including those that stop trading at 2 am. The lockout does not apply to premises located outside a 3 am Safe Night Precinct;3
  • prohibiting the sale or consumption of high alcohol content and rapid consumption drinks (eg shots) after midnight, except at venues that specialise in premium spirits. The specific types and amounts of alcohol to be prescribed will be determined following a stakeholder consultation;4
  • removing the ability for all commercial hotel, community club and commercial special facility licensees to apply for extended trading hours (outside of the standard 10 am - 10 pm) for the sale of takeaway liquor so that such applications can only be made for airports and casinos with commercial special facility licences. The transitional provisions within the Legislation prohibited, from 10 November 2015, any new applications for extended trading hours for the sale of takeaway liquor from being accepted or approved and provided for any such applications that were undecided as at 10 November 2015 to lapse. However, these changes do not affect existing extended trading approvals for takeaway liquor. Venues that currently sell or supply takeaway liquor to 12 midnight are able to continue to do so;5 and
  • requiring licensees whose car parks are designated as part of their licensed premises to obtain approval from the Commissioner of Liquor and Gaming (the Commissioner) before holding an event where alcohol is to be consumed or supplied in the car park. This overrides existing approvals or conditions on licences. Such car park approvals are limited and will only apply on the day and during the specified hours stated in the Commissioner's approval.6

Amendments to the Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld)

The Legislation also amends the Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld) (the Gaming Act) so that gaming hours and liquor consumption hours are no longer linked. Key changes include:7

  • existing gaming hours are "grandfathered" under the Legislation so that venues that currently offer gaming and adult entertainment are able to continue to provide those activities for the duration of the approved gaming and adult entertainment hours in effect immediately prior to 1 July 2016, despite the winding back of liquor trading hours on 1 July 2016; and
  • after 1 July 2016, gaming hours may be approved for up to two hours after the service of liquor has ceased, allowing gaming services to continue to trade up to 5 am in a 3 am Safe Night Precinct and 4 am outside of a 3 am Safe Night Precinct. Despite questions being raised in Parliament at the Second Reading Speech, the Legislation does not amend the prohibition on gaming before 10 am.8 The Palaszczuk Government has made it clear that it has no intention to change this regulation, nor will licences be provided that allow for pre-10 am trading.

Practical Considerations

Some of the practical consequences of the amendments to the Liquor Act include:

  • local boards of Safe Night Precincts must apply to become 3 am Safe Night Precincts to allow their constituent licensed venues to trade until 3 am (upon individual approval of extended trading hours). Such applications have to be approved by the Minister before the Minister makes a recommendation to the Governor in Council to prescribe the Safe Night Precinct as an approved 3 am Safe Night Precinct. The boards of Safe Night Precincts have until 1 February 2017 to be officially prescribed as 3 am Safe Night Precincts, otherwise licensees within the Safe Night Precincts will automatically have their trading hours reduced to 2 am;9
  • if a Safe Night Precinct does not currently have a local board, then one must be established in order to apply to the Minister to become a 3 am Safe Night Precinct;
  • the primary beneficiaries of the Legislation are airports and casinos that hold commercial special facilities licences whose existing late night trading hours, or right to apply for extended trading hours until 5 am, remain intact and who are not affected by the 1 am lockout provisions;
  • as existing gaming hours are unaffected by the Legislation, other beneficiaries of the Legislation include venues that are already licensed to provide gaming activities until 5.30 am, which will have at least a 30 minute, and up to a 1.5 hour trading advantage over other licensees who do not have extended gaming hours approvals before 1 July 2016;
  • until 1 July 2016, the Liquor Act and Gaming Act still allow licensees to apply for extended liquor and gaming hours until 5 am and 5.30 am, respectively. Therefore, in order to lock in late night gaming until 5.30 am and despite the fact liquor trading hours will automatically reduce to 2 am or 3 am, depending on whether the venue is located within a 3 am Safe Night Precinct, from 1 July 2016, licensees who do not currently have approved extended trading hours may apply for extended liquor and gaming hours until 5.00am and 5.30am, respectively. However, the likelihood of applications being prepared, considered and approved by the Commissioner between now and 1 July 2016 is low and liquor applications not approved before 1 July 2016 will automatically be treated as applications to trade until 2 am or 3 am, as the case may be, which would mean extended gaming hours could only be approved until 4 am or 5 am, as the case may be. It is therefore likely that licensees who have not already lodged applications for extended trading hours will miss out on this advantage;
  • due to the Legislation decoupling liquor and gaming trading hours, there will be the ability to offer gaming (upon approved application) well beyond the impending reduced liquor trading hours, which may be of some consolation to licensees who anticipate revenue losses due to reduced liquor sales.

Footnotes

1Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 2, 24; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 62.

2Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2891; Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 3, 16, 17; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 29, 54.

3Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2891; Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 2; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 31, 38.

4Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 4; Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2892; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 43, 49.

5Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 3 – 4; Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2892; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 62.

6Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld),13; Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2893; Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) cl 42, 62, 66.

7Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 4; Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld) 1RS, 2892.

8Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld) s 235; Gaming Machine Regulation 2002 (Qld) reg 15.

9Explanatory Notes, Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Qld), 3.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.