Licensed venues that repeatedly commit serious offences can lose their liquor licence under NSW's Three Strikes scheme.
The scheme uses a system of strikes that target licensees or managers who wilfully – and continually – breach liquor laws. Not all offences will result in a strike - strikes only apply to serious breaches.
There are numerous offences that can lead to a strike. For al ist of offences, refer to the FS3015 Three Strikes disciplinary scheme fact sheet (PDF, 157 KB).
From 1 October 2017, strikes will be incurred by individual licensees and approved managers for all venues (excluding registered clubs), rather than attaching to a venue's licence or the "bricks and mortar".
For all registered clubs, strikes will continue to be record against a club licence.
If it decides to impose a strike, the Authority can impose remedial action against a licensee, manager and the licence of the venue where the related breach occurred.
After a first strike, this action is designed to help improve behaviour and address the risks that led to a strike being incurred.
However, where rogue operators repeatedly disregard the law and incur three or more strikes, a range of actions may be taken to remove them from the industry – including disqualification, licence suspension and cancellation.
For more information about how remedial action can escalate after multiple strikes, refer to the FS3015 Three Strikes disciplinary scheme fact sheet (PDF, 157 KB).
To recognise the unique role registered clubs play in local communities, clubs that record 3 strikes don't lose their liquor licence.
This would only penalise members who are not to blame for the behaviour of management or staff. Instead, a club secretary can face permanent disqualification from the industry.
For a registered club, a third strike can mean:
Each strike remains in force for up to 3 years from the date they are incurred.
Where a strike expires after three years, conditions imposed because of that strike continue in effect unless a further application is made to the Authority to have them removed.
Licensees and managers can apply to have a strike removed if they can demonstrate, at least six months after a strike has been incurred, there has been ongoing compliance with the liquor laws and any remedial action imposed by the Authority.
They will also need to show they have implemented measures, or undertaken a course of training or instruction, to manage or reduce the risks that led to a strike being imposed.
An application form, with further supporting guidance, will be released later in 2017.
As a licensee or manager, you can seek a review of a strike decision with the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal.
The Three Strikes scheme gives licensees and managers an opportunity to review their business practices and reconsider their alcohol and security plans. This is the best way to prevent incidents that lead to offences and strikes.
Licensees should manage any risks in their business and put appropriate safeguards in place. This could include:
Liquor & Gaming NSW maintains a public registry of strikes. The register conveys where strikes have been incurred and the offences that led to them.
A register of strikes incurred under the new scheme will be released in the coming months.
You can also view details of any liquor licence – including its conditions – by searching the Government Licensing Service website.
You will need the liquor licence number, licence name or licensee name.
Law and policy
Fact sheet: Industry information: Changes to the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme (PDF, 113KB)
Report: Review of the Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme - Hon Ian Callinan AC QC (PDF, 1.8MB)
Report: Review of the Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme - Final Report (PDF, 720KB)
Review of the Three Strikes Disciplinary Scheme submissions