Licensees should be aware of significant changes in the implementation of Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG) in NSW. All security, bar and gaming staff must also be made aware of these changes.

From August 22, 2011, all registered training organisations (RTOs) must use a common online system for RSA and RCG course approval. The system will be linked to the NSW Government’s new licensing database. Up until this point, RTOs kept course graduate information on their own separate internal systems. This information will now be centralised.


The current system of issuing paper certificates to course graduates will also be phased out. Instead, students who complete RSA and RCG courses will be required to apply for a photo competency card which must be kept on their person at all times when working at a venue.

RTOs will provide graduates with an interim certificate upon completion of their courses. The graduates must present this certificate at an Australia Post outlet within 90 days to apply for their competency card. In the meantime, graduates may use their interim certificate as proof of competency if they wish to work shifts while waiting for their card to arrive.

The first group of RSA / RCG paper certificates to be phased out are those issued before 1st January 2001. These paper certificates will be invalid from 1st July 2012.
Expiry dates for RSA and RCG paper certificates are listed as follows:

Paper certificates issued between Expiry Date
Prior to 1st January 2001 30th June 2012
1st January 2001 – 31st December 2006 30th June 2013
1st January 2007 – 31st December 2008 30th June 2014
1st January 2009 – 31st December 2009 30th June 2015
1st January 2010 – 21st August 2011 30th June 2016


Importantly, RTOs will be required to pay a fee in order to print each interim certificate. This will be $70 for each student who completes an RSA course, and $30 for the RCG course. These fees will be passed onto the student, with course fees expect to rise by an average of $55.

Additionally, students will be required to renew their competencies every five years. While the exact requirements or renewal have yet to be finalised, this is still a significant change as, up until this point, RSA and RCG certificates did not expire.

Licensees should bear in mind that these changes are being phased in slowly and, as such, current RSA and RCG paper certificate holders will not be required to apply for a competency card – at least, not yet.


These changes come as a direct response to findings by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which identified deficiencies in the existing system.

Undercover inspectors from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing attended RSA and RCG courses and found some RTOs completed the course in half the required time, while others assisted students during the final exam.

The ICAC also identified a need to centralise all RSA and RCG data on a common system that can be accessed by police and liquor inspectors at any time.

Licensees must remember that venues will continue to be audited to ensure compliance.

Allied Risk runs RSA and RCG courses – find out more details here

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