Crucial Changes Impacting Licenced Venues

The introduction of The Liquor Amendment (3 Strikes) Act 2011, passed by the NSW Parliament on 9 November 2011 and effective from 1 January 2012, though designed as a disciplinary scheme targeting rogue operations, will certainly force many organisations to review their security, risk and compliance requirements.

OLGR (Office of Liquor Gaming & Racing) advises that a “key principle of the scheme is that strikes can be imposed when a licensee or approved manager is convicted (including via payment of a penalty notice) of one of a range of the most serious offences under the Liquor Act.”

These offences are prescribed in the Act and include:

a. permitting intoxication on licensed premises

b. permitting indecent, violent or quarrelsome conduct on licensed premises

c. selling or supplying alcohol to an intoxicated person or a minor

d. allowing alcohol to be sold or supplied to a minor on licensed premises

e. permitting the use or sale of substances which a licensee or manager suspects are illicit drugs

f. not complying with a direction issued by the Director General to a licensee or staff

g. selling or supplying alcohol outside of authorised trading hours

h. non-compliance with a closure order issued under the Liquor Act to prevent or reduce a significant risk to the public interest where there are serious breaches of the Act, and

i. a breach of key liquor licence conditions applying to violent venues listed in schedule 4 of the Liquor Act, or conditions imposed on a venue that has incurred strikes.

A first strike is automatically incurred upon conviction for a single offence and is active for three years from the date of the offence and licence conditions may be imposed at that time.

A third strike can result in the imposition of licence conditions, licence suspension for up to 12 months, licence cancellation and a moratorium on a new liquor licence being granted for the same business operators at the venue for up to 12 months, and / or disqualification of a licensee for any period of time.

For registered clubs, a third strike can result in imposition of licence conditions, disqualification of a club secretary, dismissal of any or all of the club directors, and / or the appointment of an administrator to manage the club. Additional conditions can be imposed on licenced venues in response to the behaviour that led to strikes being incurred.

There is a clear opportunity for licenced venues to now take a stock of their business practices and review their Security Management programs. A sound Security Management program for the Hospitality Industry does exist, and fills the void and gaps relating to risk, compliance, training and reporting and in the integration of services between departments.

The underlying benefits of the key components in establishing such a system is achieving high quality and high standards providing a culture of acceptable practices.

By upskilling key people, line managers are able to better communicate, manage, coordinate and delegate. Managers are then focused on being pro-active and vigilant in dealing with incidents which are likely to become a complaint or lead to civil or criminal liability. Find out more about the Three Strike Rule here.

For an obligation free review of your security management program please contact Sam Ekinci by email  or call 02 9635 0477.