On 4 May 2020, the NSW Department of Liquor and Gaming (“the Department”) released the draft Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 (NSW) (“the draft Bill”) for public consultation.
The draft Bill aims to support a safe 24-hour economy, once the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The draft Bill is the second part of the Government’s response to the Joint Select Committee Report on Sydney’s Night Time Economy (“Committee Report”).
The Joint Select Committee on Sydney’s Night Time Economy (“the Joint Committee”) was established on 29 May 2019. The Committee was to investigate and report on Sydney’s night time economy, and any additional measures that would need to be put into place to:
On 30 September 2019, the Joint Committee published its final report containing 40 recommendations. The NSW Government released its response to the Committee Report on 28 November 2019, either supporting or partially supporting all recommendations. The changes to be made were to be carried out in stages to allow for consultation at the necessary stages.
On 14 January 2020, the Liquor Amendment (Night Time Economy) Regulation 2019 (NSW) (“the Regulation”) commenced, implementing the first stage of liquor law changes in NSW. Some of the key changes made by the Regulation include:
One of the key changes proposed under the draft Bill is the introduction of a single integrated system of incentives and sanctions in order to encourage good behaviour, minimise violence, and reduce breaches of liquor laws. Currently there are three sanction schemes under the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW):
The proposed system aims to replace these schemes with a simpler demerit point system. Demerit points will accrue in cases of breaches of liquor laws, serious violence, or safety issues. The points will last for 3 years, unless the Department approves the removal of the points sooner. Licensees and managers who take proactive steps to address risks that have led to a demerit point will be eligible to apply for its early removal. The demerit points will be maintained on a register, which will be available to the public online to maintain transparency.
The draft Bill also contains other changes that aim to:
Consultation of the draft Bill is currently open. Further details on submissions and the progress of the consultation can be found on the NSW Department of Liquor and Gaming website.
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[Draft] Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 (NSW) and supporting documents available from TimeBase LawOne Service
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