Last year saw a small, but welcome, number of legislative changes which gave pub owners in Queensland some relief in the practical running of their businesses. With a state election to be held this year, the industry eagerly awaits the release of the major parties’ policies to see if further reforms might be on offer to assist the heavily regulated industry. In this article, we dive into the changes and see how they benefit the industry.
For some time now, the requirement to scan patron IDs on entry has been in place for pubs and clubs located in any of Queensland’s 15 Safe Night Precincts. Until the recent reforms, ID scanning was compulsory for those premises for all patrons entering from 10pm, if they were authorised under their licences to sell liquor during all or any part of the period between midnight and 5pm. The key to triggering this requirement was the word ‘authorised’. If the licensee was authorised to sell liquor after midnight, then they were required to scan from 10pm even if they actually ceased trade by midnight.
As a result of the recently enacted Holidays and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld), affected premises no longer have to scan patrons on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights provided they actually stop selling liquor by 1am. This is a sensible reform, which relieves licensees of the inconvenience of scanning on these nights as long as they actually cease trade by 1am (regardless of the fact that they might be authorised to trade beyond 1am).
However, affected licensees who are authorised to trade after midnight are still required to scan from 10pm:
- on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights
- on the night before a public holiday if they are authorised to trade beyond midnight.
Re-entry pass system
Previously, patrons were required to have their IDs scanned each and every time they sought entry during the required scanning period. The amendments now give licensees the option of operating a re-entry pass system. Patrons who are issued a re-entry pass do not need to be scanned again after their first entry into the premises in the relevant trading period. For example, a re-entry pass could be a stamp or a wristband. The re-entry pass must uniquely identify the premises as well as the relevant trading period to which it applies.
With a State government election to be held in October this year, we can expect the publication of the various parties’ policies in the coming months. While public safety and reduction in alcohol-fuelled violence are likely to remain the labelled themes of liquor and gaming policies, it remains to be seen whether the parties will see scope for further reforms which reduce operational costs and red tape for the industry.