Hot on the heels of last year’s cost and red tape reduction initiatives arrive a couple more very significant changes to the liquor licensing laws in Queensland. The first one has emerged without any fanfare (so far) and is in fact a brand new licence category: the cafe licence.
Since its inception in 1992 the Liquor Act has stipulated that food in licensed restaurants has to be prepared on premises, and must satisfy the meal definition, specifically, food that:
- is eaten by a person sitting at a table, or fixed structure
used as a table, with cutlery provided for the purpose of
eating the food; and
- is of sufficient substance as to be ordinarily accepted as
What this has meant is that businesses offering other kinds of food – perhaps prepared off site, or less substantial than a traditional meal – have been unable to obtain a liquor licence.
This situation has been resolved now with the acceptance of the provision of ?prepared food? as a principal activity within the Subsidiary On Premises licence class. Cleverly, the OLGR policy-makers have co-opted the prepared food references which appear in the licence fee sections in the Liquor Regulation to create the new class of liquor licence.
The new cafe licence now offers a range of options to food venues, especially those smaller venues unable to obtain a Small Bar Licence due to town planning restrictions.
The second and more recent change is the announcement this week of adjustments to procedural requirements for low risk applicants – namely restaurants and the new cafe licence.
Provided the licence has standard hours (10am to Midnight), there is no longer a need to produce a Risk Assessed Management Plan, no need to chase the consent of the land lord, and a more streamlined approach to criminal history checks! These changes will benefit both applicants for new licences and licence transfers in the relevant category.
What’s next? Watch this space.