As the girth of the Australian wine industry is expanding both locally and overseas, our State liquor licensing laws are simultaneously experiencing a loosening of the proverbial belt.
So far, thanks to the reforms introduced in December last year under the Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017, you can now buy an alcoholic drink at a licensed restaurant, without having to buy a meal, and you no longer have to sit in a designated dining or sampling area to drink it. You can commence employment as a Responsible Person for serving alcohol on a provisional basis, whilst awaiting the police checks and other procedural aspects of your application to be processed. You can sell alcohol on Christmas Day, and until 2am on New Year’s Day, without having to apply for a special licence. B&B’s, cruise ships, hairdressers, businesses and retirement villages can sell or provide alcohol to their clientele without having to hold a special licence.
New simplified licence categories are in the process of being introduced and having to hold two licences at the one venue to facilitate operation will hopefully be phased out. These will include more lax cellar door licences to allow for the service of food without the necessity of having a concurrent restaurant licence. Licensed venues no longer need to apply for an additional licence to host comedy or live music, which is a fantastic step forward for the Adelaide Arts and Entertainment Scene.
But there is a catch – parents take note!!
Whilst the Commissioner is trying to be more modern and permissive in the approach to the state liquor reforms, they are toughening up their stand on teenage drinking. Be very wary of serving alcohol to teenagers. The penalties are high. The reforms flow from ongoing issues to do with a young teenager’s ability to provide legal and informed consent in relation to their consumption of alcohol.
You can also be held liable if you leave your teenager at home alone for an extended period, with access to your liquor cabinet. Parents of other teenagers who may visit your home to drink alcohol and party with your child while you are away will have every right to ask questions, and seek your prosecution, if they have not provided the supervising adult in charge with express permission to serve their child alcohol. You must have the express consent from other parents to serve their teenagers alcohol or allow them to drink alcohol on your premises, and you must personally supervise each and every one of them, whilst remaining sober yourself.
On that note, Johnston Withers suggests you lock up your liquor cabinet over the Easter Break, particularly if you are heading away for a few days!
With best wishes to our clients and colleagues for a happy and relaxing Easter.