With Schoolies 2016 and the Christmas silly season soon upon us, licensed premises owners, staff and patrons will need to brush up on Queensland’s new liquor laws if they don’t want to wind up on the wrong end of a hefty fine.
The new laws mean the moment the clock strikes 12 midnight (that’s AEST for the southerners) in the Surfers Paradise Safe Night Precinct, what are euphemistically called ‘rapid intoxication’ drinks are no longer on the menu. These drinks include ‘shots’, ‘shooters’, ‘bombs’, ‘blasters’, ‘jelly shots’ or ‘test tubes’, along with any drink containing more than 45ml of spirits or liqueur, and any pre-mixed drinks with an alcohol volume of more than 5%, and they can no longer be sold on licensed premises after midnight. Swinging Gold Coast bon vivants may be pleased to learn cocktails are exempt, but only if they’re listed and priced on a cocktail menu, and not designed for ‘rapid consumption’.
The penalty for selling rapid intoxication drinks after the witching hour is a whopping $12,190.00. The penalty for consuming them? Well, we’ve all been there.
3 am lockout laws currently apply in Queensland. That means if you leave a licenced venue after 1am you won’t be permitted to re-enter until after 3am. From 1 February 2017, the lockout time will change from 3 am to 1am in all safe night precincts in Queensland. Those in desperate need of a jelly shot will be pleased to know the provisions don’t apply to licensed premises in airports, casinos and industrial canteens. Of course, whether those venues serve jelly shots is a whole other question.
If you’re a venue operator being investigated for a suspected breach of the Liquor Act be aware the results of a breath test analysis are admissible evidence in prosecutions against a licensee where there is other evidence suggesting an offence, and Queensland Liquor Act investigators can require licencees to produce documents relevant to the administration and enforcement of the Act.
If you are joining our Goldy locals over the coming weeks and want to know more about the Surfers Paradise Safe Night Precinct, visit the Queensland Government website here.
Andrew Shields, Gold Coast Lawyer