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24 August 2018

Liquor Regulation 2018 comes into effect from 1 September 2018

The Liquor Regulation 2008 expires on 1 September 2018 and will be replaced by the Liquor Regulation 2018.

Like the 2008 Regulation, the 2018 Regulation prescribes matters necessary for the effective operation of the Liquor Act 2007.

It also introduces key changes detailed below, which will support responsible industry development while continuing to prioritise harm minimisation.

Liquor & Gaming NSW went through a public consultation process to finalise the Liquor Regulation 2018. This consultation process included inviting public submissions on the Regulatory Impact Statement and an initial draft of the 2018 Regulation. Liquor & Gaming NSW also met with a range of stakeholders.

Several changes were made to the 2018 Regulation following this consultation process. The most significant difference is that the proposed changes to Community Impact Statement (CIS) and advertising requirements for licence applications will be further refined before related amendments are made to the Regulation.

The key changes coming into effect from 1 September 2018 are:

A new Tiered Industry Training Framework (TITF) to build on existing Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training and enhance industry training standards

A Tiered Industry Training Framework (TITF) will be introduced by the 2018 Regulation, delivering on the NSW Government’s commitment to strengthen industry training.

This will enable the gradual phasing in of two new training courses for licensees, approved managers and club secretaries, including:

  1. ‘Licensee training’ - for most licensees, approved managers and club secretaries; and
  2. ‘Advanced Licensee’ training - an additional course for those operating licensed venues in higher risk environments.

The new courses will be available before the end of 2018.

Licensees and approved managers granted a new liquor from 1 September 2018 will have until 1 April 2019 to complete the new training.

From 1 April 2019, new licence applicants will need to complete the training before making an application, and transfer applicants will need to complete the training before the ‘confirmation’ of the licence transfer.

Existing licensees and approved managers who held a liquor licence prior to 1 September 2018, will need to complete the new licensee training from 1 April 2019 onwards, aligned to the renewal of their existing NSW competency card.

The new courses are designed to support those responsible for operating licensed premises to meet their obligations and run licensed venues professionally, while providing safe, vibrant and welcoming environments for patrons.

Read more about Licensee and Advanced Licensee training

12-month trial of a tailored licensing option for micro-breweries and small distilleries in Sydney’s Inner West

From 1 September 2018, a special drink-on-premises authorisation for small-scale producers of beer, cider and spirits will be trialled in Sydney’s Inner West Local Government Area (LGA) for 12 months.

For eligible micro-breweries and small distilleries with the authorisation, it will primarily mean they can sell their own products to the public for consumption on their premises (not merely as tastings), subject to certain conditions including a patron limit of 100 and making sure food is available.

The trial aims to establish a state-wide licensing option suited to the micro-brewery and small distillery model to make it easier for these businesses to start up and trade in lower-risk settings. This, in turn, intends to support the craft brewery and small distillery sector and promote greater venue diversity across NSW.

The trial has been developed, and will be undertaken and monitored, in close consultation with the Inner West Council and the local industry.

Read more about the trial, the special licence conditions and how to apply (PDF, 181KB).

No-cost conversions to small bar licences for eligible on-premises and hotel (general bar) licences for 12 months

From 1 September 2018, eligible on-premises and hotel (general bars) licensees can apply to convert to a small bar licence free of charge through a simplified conversion process.

This no-cost conversion has been re-opened for 12 months until 31 August 2019.

The small bar licence, with its 100 patron capacity limit, offers lower ongoing annual fees and an exemption from additional fee loadings that normally apply for later trading beyond midnight.

New licensing arrangements and fees for large-scale commercial public events with 2000 or more people

The Liquor Regulation 2018 introduces new licensing arrangements for large-scale commercial public events, such as music festivals and major trade fairs, to better reflect associated risk and the regulatory and assessment effort involved.

From 1 September 2018, new requirements apply for licensing commercially operated events and functions that will be open to the public and attended by, or with a patron capacity of, 2000 or more people on any day.

The new requirements include:

  • applications must be lodged 28 days ahead of the event, or else may be declined if the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority considers there’s insufficient time to properly consider the merits. Late applications also attract an extra fee of $110.
  • fees payable on application are varied to:
    • $650 for limited licences for these events (whether a special event or trade fair).
    • $450 for a hotel function on other premises for these events.
  • from 1 April 2019, applicants for limited licences for these events will need to have successfully completed any relevant TITF courses - including ‘licensee training’ at a minimum, as well as ‘advanced licensee training’ if the event will run beyond midnight.

The new requirements do not apply to fundraising and charity events run on behalf of non-proprietary associations, where a lower cost limited licence remains available.

Similar regulatory arrangements for large-scale events are in place in many other Australian jurisdictions.

​More efficient online licensing so standard restaurants and cafés can trade sooner

The 2018 Regulation continues efforts to make it easier for restaurants and cafés seeking to serve alcohol with meals during standard trading times to commence trading.

To better reflect the risk profile of these businesses, the public submission period for an on-premises licence application has been reduced from 30 to 14 days where they make the application online.

This provides an alternative option for those that may be ineligible to obtain an ‘interim restaurant authorisation’ to begin trading immediately on making their application - in particular, where they have not consulted on their intention to sell liquor earlier, as part of their planning application.

The shortened submissions period is not available for any restaurants or cafés seeking extended trading beyond midnight or an authorisation to sell liquor without meals.

​New risk-based notification arrangements for licensed caterers

From 1 September 2018, new risk-based notification arrangements will commence for licensed caterers. Licensed caterers will be required to notify Liquor & Gaming NSW of functions they intend to cater to on other premises, in addition to local police and local council.

More flexible notification arrangements will apply for caterers providing licensed services to small private functions of 100 people or less, such as weddings, birthday parties and office functions.

Caterers will also need to provide more advance notice, of 28 days, where they intend to provide licensed services at functions of 2000 or more people that will be open to the public.

These changes will reduce red tape as caterers will be able to cater to certain small functions at short notice, particularly during the festive season, while also enhancing regulatory oversight for higher risk functions.

Licensed caterers can provide notice to Liquor & Gaming NSW by emailing

​Changes to Kings Cross precinct special licence conditions

From 1 September 2018, changes to Kings Cross precinct conditions are being made to better align the precinct with the Sydney CBD under the common ‘prescribed precincts’ framework, and promote more consistency in conditions on Kings Cross venues.

The changes will mean:

  • All designated ‘high risk’ venues in Kings Cross must ensure at least one RSA Marshal is present during the supervised trading period (Fridays, Saturdays, public holidays, and public holiday eves from midnight to 3.30am).
  • Kings Cross licensees at ‘high risk’ venues no longer need to seek approval from Liquor & Gaming NSW for managers (‘approved managers’) to be present in venues at certain times. Instead, all managers at ‘high risk’ venues in both the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD precincts will be encouraged to undertake the new ‘advanced licensee’ training course.
  • Kings Cross licensees are no longer mandated to report alcohol sales data from 8pm each day, given the data collected has not proved useful from a compliance or policy perspective.
  • Kings Cross licensees are no longer obliged under the liquor laws to clear footpath litter at certain times, or sit a full RSA training course (rather than the refresher course) to renew their RSA endorsement, consistent with the rest of NSW.

Mandatory ID scanners and CCTV requirements continue to apply in the Kings Cross precinct under the 2018 Regulation.

CCTV will be strengthened over time to improve the overall quality of recordings and reflect advances in technology - with the minimum frame rate of Kings Cross systems to increase from 6 to 10 frames per second by 1 September 2020.

Changes for on-premises restaurant licence holders with a Primary Service Authorisation (PSA)

From 1 September 2018, on-premises restaurants with a primary service authorisation (PSA) will no longer be required under the liquor laws to record and regularly report data on their liquor and food sales, or maintain special signage to reflect that they can sell liquor without a meal.

These requirements have inadvertently led to some confusion that restaurants with PSAs are able to operate mostly like a restaurant (e.g. during the day), and morph into a bar or nightclub style operation later at night where the primary purpose becomes the sale and supply of alcohol.

However, this is not an appropriate use of the on-premises (restaurant) licence.

These changes will form part of broader efforts by Liquor & Gaming NSW to help clarify the requirements for licensed restaurants and cafés with PSAs, and convey other suitable licensing options. More guidance will be released on Liquor & Gaming NSW’s website shortly.

Changes to venue incident register reporting requirements

The 2018 Regulation introduces changes to further improve incident register records.

From 1 September 2018, any venue required to maintain an incident register will also need to ensure they record incidents involving the possession or use on the premises of any substance suspected of being a prohibited plant or drug.

In the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts, a risk-based approach to maintaining “Round the Clock” incident registers will also come into effect. This will mean packaged liquor licensees and many licensees operating under on-premises licences, such as restaurants, cafés and accommodation premises (excluding those with a primary service authorisation) no longer need to maintain an incident register 24/7.

“Round the Clock” requirements will still apply for hotels, clubs, nightclubs and other licensed public entertainment venues (not including cinemas and theatres), small bars and producer/wholesalers with a drink on-premises authorisation.

​New RSA training requirements for ‘RSA Marshals’ across NSW

From 1 September 2018, anyone working as an ‘RSA Marshal’ across NSW must ensure they have first completed the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training course and hold a current RSA competency card.

This aligns the state-wide approach with the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts, where the training is already mandatory for RSA Marshals.

Fee changes to support cost recovery and better reflect regulatory effort 

Fees generally

On 1 September 2018, all liquor-related application and annual licence fees will be varied to reflect annual rises in inflation. New fees that apply are set out in the Liquor Fee Schedule on Liquor & Gaming NSW’s website.

Fees relating to RSA training will also change. New fees that apply are set out in the RSA Fee Schedule on Liquor & Gaming NSW’s website.

From early 2020, these fees will be automatically adjusted each year for inflation in line with CPI.

Pro-rata Liquor Licence Fee for New Licences

To ensure each new licensee makes a fair and reasonable contribution to the costs of regulating the industry, a pro-rata licence fee for newly granted licences will be introduced from 16 March 2019.

More details will be published on Liquor & Gaming NSW’s website before the pro-rata fee comes into effect.

Further information about the key changes will be published on Liquor & Gaming NSW’s website when the Liquor Regulation 2018 comes into force on 1 September 2018.

In the meantime, use our online feedback form to send us your questions, suggestions or feedback or phone Liquor & Gaming NSW on 1300 024 720 (Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:00pm).