In what is likely to be seen by several industry groups a s controversial change the Newman government’s red tape reduction bill will amend the Liquor Act to remove much of the expense and time constraints associated with the licensing process for restaurants and cafes.
Many existing licence holders will recall the standard process to apply for a liquor licence in Queensland included:
- The preparation of a Community Impact Statement
- The preparation of a Risk Assessed Management Plan
- Seeking the consent of the owner of the freehold property
- Advertising the liquor licence application: in a local newspaper, the Queensland Government Gazette and by way of a sign on the premises, to call for community comment or objection.
- The completion of police criminal history checks on individuals involved in the application: company directors, major shareholders and individual applicants.
The proposed amendments, likely to pass unchanged from their present form given the Government’s overwhelming majority, will remove all five of these requirements for restaurant and cafe licence applicants under the following circumstances:
- The premises is located in a commercial centre
- The proposed trading hours do not extend beyond midnight
- There is no amplified entertainment on the premises
These changes follow changes to liquor licence application procedures introduced in late 2012 which did away with the need for a successful applicant to provide documentary evidence of compliance with fire, health and building regulations. The combined effect of these changes should see a properly prepared liquor licence application approved in as little as four weeks. Although the application will still involve a range of matters, including Police and Council consultation, town planning and physical inspections, the changes will still considerably reduce the professional costs associated with the preparation and management of the process.