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Managing cumulative impacts of licensed premises in the Sydney CDB and Kings Cross

The NSW Government established an evidence-based framework under Division 5 of Part 4 of the Liquor Act 2007 to help manage the concentration of licenced premises and their cumulative impacts in the Sydney CBD Entertainment and Kings Cross precincts.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has issued a ‘Cumulative Impact Assessment’ PDF, 9504.25 KB for the precincts under the framework, which applies from 1 May 2021.

This has replaced a former liquor licence freeze in the precincts. It aims to open new business opportunities in suitable areas, while continuing to manage higher-risk locations.

Approach to liquor licensing in four designated Cumulative Impact Areas

The Assessment designates four ‘Cumulative Impact Areas’ in the precincts where, due to the likely social impact, the Authority will generally not approve:

  • higher impact premises or additional late trading for these premises, or
  • permanent increases to the licensed area or patron capacity of existing higher impact premises

unless an applicant can make a compelling case about the community benefits and any appropriate harm reduction measures are in place.

The Assessment provides guidance about the types of offerings that may be able to demonstrate overall positive impacts for the community, where applications may be more successful despite the elevated risks.

The four Cumulative Impact Areas are shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1: Four Designated Cumulative Impact Areas in the Precincts

Map of four designated cumulative impact areas in the precincts

Applicants who want to make an application in the Cumulative Impact Area are encouraged to read the Assessment carefully to understand how it may impact their application.

What higher impact premises does the Assessment apply to?

Higher impact premises affected by the Assessment include hotels, registered clubs, packaged liquor outlets, and on-premises venues that are public entertainment venues such as nightclubs, and late-trading karaoke bars and strip clubs.

There are some limited exclusions – for example, for hotels that are tourist accommodation establishments and entertainment venues that are cinemas and theatres.

The Assessment also does not apply to:

  • On-premises licences for restaurants and cafés, accommodation, and spaces used primarily for the purpose of live music, live performances or creative or other cultural uses
  • Small bar licences
  • Producer/wholesaler licences

These exclusions are subject to standard licensing processes. This approach is intended to support more diversity in the range of premises in Cumulative Impact Areas, particularly premises that are lower risk or that strongly contribute to the local live music industry, or arts, tourism or community cultural sectors.

You should refer to the Assessment for more information on the types of licence applications that are affected and exclusions.

Is the Assessment subject to future review?

Yes, the assessment is reviewed on an ongoing basis.

You should read the Assessment for more information about these reviews.

Community Impact Statement (CIS)

Standard community consultation requirements apply. For new licences or extended trading hours, you will need to consult with the community about the impacts of your proposal. You’ll need to include benefits and costs, and document the results as part of your application.

This typically occurs as part of completing a Category B Community Impact Statement.

A CIS helps to inform decision makers on the merits of your proposal, and also satisfies the question whether the overall social impact will not be detrimental to the wellbeing of the local or broader community.

Read more about preparing a Community Impact Statement