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law
27 November 2018

Three Strikes scheme

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.

Offences that lead to a strike

There are numerous offences that can lead to a strike.

For a list of offences, refer to the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme fact sheet. (PDF 214.7 KB)

Who incurs a strike?

In most cases strikes are incurred by individual licensees and approved managers. Strikes against registered clubs are recorded against a club licence.

Determining a strike

Decisions on whether strikes should be incurred are made the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority Board (ILGA).

When deciding to impose a strike or licence conditions following a strike, ILGA will consider:

  • if the venue is captured by the violent venues scheme
  • venue size and patron capacity
  • change of licensee, manager, or business owners
  • changes to business practices
  • compliance and incident history and crime statistics.

If it decides to impose a strike, ILGA 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 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.

Remedial action for registered clubs

Registered clubs that record 3 strikes don't lose their liquor licence. Instead, a club secretary can face permanent disqualification from the industry.

This sanction is in recognition of the unique role clubs play in the community and an unwillingness to penalise members who are not to blame for the behaviour of management or staff.

For a registered club, a third strike can mean:

  • new licence conditions
  • disqualification of a club secretary
  • dismissal of any or all of the club directors
  • appointment of an administrator to manage the club.

How long does a strike apply for?

Each strike remains in force for three 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 ILGA to have them removed.

In some circumstances, after at least six months, a strike can be removed if the licensee or manager demonstrates ongoing compliance, and takes proactive steps to address the issues that led to the strike.

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.

Review a strike against you

As a licensee or manager, you can seek a review of a strike decision with the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal through an appeals process for independent review.

Benefits for venues

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:

  • a different security strategy
  • better monitoring of patron service and consumption patterns
  • greater vigilance in refusing service to people if they're getting drunk.

Three Strikes Register

We maintain 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 .

NSW online licence check

You can also view details of any liquor licence – including its conditions – by searching the Government Licensing Service website.

More information