On 1 July 2016, the Queensland Government commenced the
implementation of the first wave of new restrictions under the
Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Act
2016 (Qld) (Act). The staggered roll out of
these new restrictions means that it is now more important than
ever for licensees to ensure they are taking appropriate steps to
comply with their legislative responsibilities, particularly with
respect to the service of alcohol.
One of the largest changes under the Act affecting licensees is
the introduction of new requirements surrounding the service of
"rapid intoxication drinks".
Rapid intoxication drinks
Under the Act, a drink that falls within the definition of a
"rapid intoxication drink" cannot be sold from a licensed
venue between 12.00am and 5.00am. The Liquor Regulation 2002 (Qld)
(Liquor Regulation) now prescribes that rapid intoxication drinks
A drink served in a small glass or other small container such
as shooters, shots, bombs, blasters, test tubes, jelly shots, and
other similar drinks;
A drink prepared on the licensed premises that contains more
than 45ml of spirits or liqueur; and
A pre-mixed alcoholic drink containing more than 5% of ethyl
alcohol (ethanol) or containing more ethanol than 2 standard
drinks. A pre-mixed drink must fall within both the 5% alcohol by
volume threshold and the 2 standard drinks threshold in order to be
served after midnight.
It is worth noting that under the Liquor Regulation, a pre-mixed
drink does not include brewed or fermented alcoholic drinks, such
as beer or wine; cocktails are also exempted from the ban on rapid
intoxication drinks, so long as the cocktail is listed on a
document prepared by the Licensee (such as a cocktail menu) setting
out the price of the cocktail and that cocktail is not sold for
less than that price after midnight.
Practical issues for licensees and staff
The Government's clear objective for introducing these
provisions is to prevent patrons from purchasing and consuming
rapid intoxication drinks in licensed premises and precincts after
The new legislation does not specifically indicate, though,
whether there is to be a grace period after 12.00am during which
patrons must finish their rapid intoxication drinks in the same way
that patrons are permitted a grace period to finish regular
alcoholic beverages. In our view, as it is presently unclear and
unlikely whether the current consumption provisions outlined in the
Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) (Liquor Act) would
apply to the consumption of rapid intoxication drinks, it would
appear that patrons will be able to consume these drinks up to and
including the time when other liquor is legally allowed to be
consumed on the premises (e.g. for premises with approved trading
to 3am, consumption is permitted up to 3.30am).
Accordingly, there are a number of practical issues that
licensees and their staff need to be aware of to ensure they are
conducting the service of alcohol in a manner that is consistent
with the objectives of the Act.
It is likely that some patrons may attempt to undermine the
objectives of the Act by engaging in the following practices:
Stacking (otherwise known as hoarding) rapid intoxication
drinks or ordering a large quantity of a rapid intoxication drink
(such as a bucket) prior to the end of the service period for rapid
intoxication drinks (12.00am); or
Ordering multiple drinks, each with an alcoholic content lower
than that of a rapid intoxication drink and subsequently combining
However, above all, licensees and their staff must:
Be aware of the new restrictions on the sale of rapid
intoxication drinks and the importance of complying with those
Ensure that whatever practices are permitted on their premises
in relation to the sale and consumption of rapid intoxication
drinks, both before and after midnight, always comply with the
responsible hospitality practices imposed on them by the Liquor Act
and the Liquor Regulations.
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