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Trading hours - A refresher for venues

This article originally appeared in QHA Review magazine, June 2018 edition

It is always pleasing to discuss changes to a venue’s trading hours with hoteliers, as we’ve consistently seen growing venues take the next step and consolidate their success by increasing their offering to patrons.

As we know of course, with the advent of Safe Night Precincts and ID Scanning, this is a highly regulated area of the industry. We thought it would be worthwhile to give a refresher on the hours available to commercial hotel licensees, and the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation's (OLGR) requirements to apply for extended hours.

Commercial Hotel Licences – Permanent Extended Trading

The ordinary trading hours for commercial hotel licences are 10.00am to 12 midnight, with gaming trading hours for new approvals allowed to extend for up to two hours after the service of liquor has ended.

Late Night Trading

For venues not located in Safe Night Precincts, licensees can apply for extended trading hours up to 2.00am, and a standard community impact statement must be provided to the OLGR in support of the application.

This statement must contain information on the population and demographics of the locality, the health and social impacts of granting the application, and the proximity of the premises to sensitive facilities in the community such as schools and churches, and the likely effect of the extended hours on these sub-communities.

For venues located in Safe Night Precincts, licensees can apply for extended trading hours up to 3.00am, and generally a full community impact statement will be required for these applications.

The full community impact statement is a more comprehensive document than the standard statement, and as part of this process, applicants must also consult with residents, businesses and key advisers in the local community area, and provide a more in-depth analysis of the local community and population trends.

Early Morning Trading

In addition to late night hours, licensees can also apply for extended trading from 9.00am to 10.00am, provided that the applicant can demonstrate the community need for these additional hours.

Again, similar to the community impact statements required for late night trading applications, submissions demonstrating the community need for earlier trading hours must include an analysis of the population and demographic trends of the local community, and for these types of submissions, a focus is also placed on the prevalence of subgroups which are likely to use these services, such as shift workers.

For earlier trading, licensees can also apply for a limited extended trading period between the hours of 7.00am and 9.00am. During these trading hours, licensees may only serve liquor in conjunction with bona fide ‘functions’, which are defined by the Liquor Act as set out below.

Commercial Hotel Licences – Temporary Extended Trading

In addition to applying for permanent extended trading hours, licensees can also apply for one-off extended hours permits for functions from 7.00am to 9.00am, or for post-12 midnight for special occasions. These one-off permits are capped at four per year for trading prior to 10.00am, and six per year for trading after 12 midnight.

The Liquor Act defines ‘functions’ as events which are not held for the licensee’s benefit, or events where the licensee does not receive a benefit other than a charge for using the premises and providing catering facilities, and ‘special occasions’ as private occasions not open to the general public, such as weddings and birthdays, or special public events, being events of local, State or national significance, such as local music festivals, or televised international sporting matches.

As these permits are now capped, it is important to consider your options when deciding when to apply for a temporary permit to trade extended hours.

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."