On January 23, 2017, the Queensland Government announced that it has backed down on its decision to introduce a 1am lockout for licensed venues located within designated 3am Safe Night Precincts.
The lockout laws, which were set to commence from February 1, 2017, will no longer proceed after the Government voted to wind back its original decision to introduce the lockout for relevant venues.
In its place, the Government has decided to introduce mandatory ID scanning for venues that trade after 12 midnight within safe night precincts. The new laws will commence from July 1, 2017.
Under the new regime, licensees of premises that permanently trade past 12 midnight within safe night precincts will be required to install networked ID scanners by July 1, 2017. Venues located within all Queensland safe night precincts will be allowed to trade liquor until 3:00am, depending on the approved trading hours under their liquor licence.
While the operational requirements for ID scanning at venues have not yet been released by the OLGR, under the current legislation, a licensee must have networked ID scanners and must arrange the scanners with an approved operator. These operators are independent providers of networked ID scanning systems that have been evaluated and approved by the OLGR.
All scanning equipment must be evaluated and approved according to OLGR’s requirements and the obligation is on each venue to ensure that only approved equipment is installed. The OLGR can provide advice to licensees about approved operators and equipment requirements.
Licensees and approved operators who have ID scanning are required to comply with relevant privacy legislation to safeguard the handling of the personal information obtained through the ID scanning equipment. The OLGR has advised that it will provide licensees with further information regarding their privacy obligations at the time of the implementation of the new ID scanning laws.
In addition to the introduction of mandatory ID scanning, the Government has announced that the new rules will also reduce the number of one-off permits available to venues located within safe night precincts to serve alcohol past 3:00am, from 12 to 6 per year. Licensees outside safe night precincts will still be able to apply for up to 12 permits a year.
Tighter restrictions will also be placed on licensees when seeking to apply for these permits, including that the permits will now only be granted for special events, such as unique or infrequent events of significance. The frequency of these permits will also be restricted, except where there is a legitimate use. The OLGR will release further information regarding the definition of ‘special occasion’ at a later date.
The Government has said that the new laws will be assessed again in early 2018. In the meantime, the Government intends to introduce a Bill to Parliament from February 2017 which will propose that the changes operate retrospectively to February 1, 2017. The OLGR has advised that licensees will be contacted directly when the details of the operational requirements for ID scanning and privacy obligations become available.
Should you have any questions regarding the new laws and how they may affect your venue, please contact Tom Young on (07) 3414 2845.