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What You Need To Know About The New Changes to NSW Liquor Laws

A round of changes to NSW liquor laws has recently been implemented. These changes have been designed to encourage a safe 24-hour economy and to provide support for Sydney’s nightlife. 

Victor Dominello, the Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service states these changes have multiple benefits including boosting jobs, providing additional entertainment options, and hopefully helping to revitalise the nighttime economy. 

“We’ve listened to industry and removed outdated and unnecessary regulations,” Mr Dominello says.

“The new rules give businesses confidence and certainty that we are serious about boosting the 24-hour economy.”

These changes include the following:

Replacing the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross licence freeze

From the 1st of May, the freeze on new liquor licenses for registered clubs, hotels, nightclubs, and packaged liquor outlets will be replaced with a new evidence-based approach to manage the numbers of licensed premises in the precincts and any related risks. So, a blanket ban on new licenses will no longer exist. 

Streamlining approval for small bars

Eligible small bar applicants that have the necessary planning approvals can now be issued with an interim approval which allows them to start trading as soon as they lodge their liquor licence application online. This is similar to the process that restaurants and bars are granted and eliminates the need for them to wait to begin business. Small bars that have been given an interim approval will need to notify both the NSW Police and their local consent authority at least two days before they begin trading. 

A new way to manage noise and entertainment sound complaints

NSW Councils will now have the option to manage noise complaints from inside the licensed premises in their local area. This includes entertainment sound. With a local plan, Councils can notify Liquor & Gaming NSW in writing that they wish to handle complaints from local businesses and residents. Benefits of this option include:

  • A commonly agreed-upon approach to managing complaints within the local area.
  • Further clarity for residents and businesses so that they know once a complaint is addressed by the council, the decision made is final.
  • A clear method for lodging and responding to complaints, reducing unnecessary regulatory responsibilities that overlap.

Changes for the live music and entertainment industry

These Councils will also now have new powers to establish ‘Special Entertainment Precincts’. These Precincts will be able to adopt their own plans to encourage and manage live, amplified music. Amplified music requirements that would usually apply under the Liquor Act 2007 will no longer apply in these areas; this includes any amplified music conditions on liquor licenses.

Live entertainment employment support

Under the new changes, liquor licensing decision-makers will be required under NSW liquor laws to consider the need to support employment and other opportunities in the live music, tourism, arts, community, and/or cultural sectors when they are determining licence applications. These factors will now be a more explicit consideration when related community impacts are considered and applications are determined.

This news comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that all lockout laws in NSW would be lifted from March 8 2021. This means blanket restrictions on shots, certain other drinks, discounted cocktails, plus the use of glass after midnight have ended, along with requirements for RSA marshals and CCTV. 

“The economy doesn’t go to sleep at night and neither should our laws,” Mr Dominello says.

“This is about making life easier for businesses, while also prioritising community safety. These changes will breathe new life into one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic.”

If you are looking to manage a licensed venue or become a licensee in NSW, check out our online licensee courses. The licensee courses we offer include the NSW Licensee Course and the NSW Advanced Licensee Course. Most licensees, approved managers and club secretaries in NSW will need to complete a NSW Licensee Course, and some will also need to complete the NSW Advanced Licensee Course. Want to know if this applies to you? Check using the Liquor and Gaming NSW tool.

Express Online Training is a nationally accredited Registered Training Organisation (RTO: 40592), and are registered with all relevant federal and state government bodies such as Liquor & Gaming NSW, OLGR, RGL & ASQA. We do not outsource any of our training or support. All support is done locally by Express Online Training staff who are fully qualified as Trainers or Assessors. Also, we have extended support hours 7 days a week.


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