Liquor laws govern the activities of many businesses, especially those in the entertainment and hospitality industries. From December 2020, the NSW government began to roll-out changes to NSW liquor laws in stages to encourage night life and a vibrant 24-hour economy. This article will outline the recent changes to NSW liquor laws which came into effect on 30 April 2021 to help ensure that your business is compliant!
1. End of Sydney CBD and Kings Cross licence freeze
- The NSW government has ended the freeze on new liquor licences for hotels, clubs and liquor outlets in the CBD and Kings Cross precincts.
- A Cumulative Impact Assessment will instead be undertaken to manage licence applications in these areas. This is an evidence-based approach which seeks to provide new opportunities for businesses while controlling higher-risk locations.
2. Changes to live music and entertainment
- The need to support employment and work opportunities in the arts, entertainment and tourism industries are now required to be considered by decision-makers in granting liquor licenses
- NSW Councils have more freedom to choose how they manage complaints about noise from inside licenced premises
- NSW Councils can now establish ‘Special Entertainment Precincts’ and come up with their own plans to encourage live entertainment and music
3. Changes to small bar licence applications
- Eligible small bars who have applied for a liquor licence may in some circumstances be approved to start trading upon lodging their application
- The Sydney and Kings Cross licence freeze has ended and been replaced with an evidence-based approach to managing licenses.
- Licence-granters must now consider employment and work opportunities in the arts and entertainment industries when making their decision to grant liquor licenses.
- Small bars may in some circumstances be able to start trading upon lodging their application for a liquor licence.