The State Government has confirmed that it will not proceed with the previously proposed 1am lockout for licensed premises. The lockout was proposed to commence on 1 February 2017, as part of the Government’s reform package for tackling alcohol fuelled violence.
While this news will come as a relief to many operators, there will also be a cost with the following new reforms announced:
a. All venues in 3am Safe Night Precincts must install ID scanners by 1 July 2017 in order to continue trading past midnight.
b. The number of times in a year that Premises can apply for permits to extend trade to 5am, will be reduced from 12 to 6. Further, they will only be granted for special events and no more than once a month. This reform is supposedly in response to licensees in Fortitude Valley ‘gaming the system’ by co-ordinating their applications so as to ensure that there was always venues trading until 5am.
Last drinks times to remain
As part of its announcement, the Government has confirmed that the existing times for last drinks – introduced on 1 July 2016 – will remain. To recap:
a. For premises in any of the State’s 15 ‘3am Safe Night Precincts’, last service of liquor is at 3am.
b. For premises outside of 3am Safe night Precincts, last service of liquor is at 2am.
Importantly, these times refer to the maximum trading hours for which a licensee may apply – they are not blanket approvals to trade until 2am (or 3am in a 3am Safe Night Precinct). All licensees must cease trade at the time specified on their licence.