THE South Australian Government last week introduced the Liquor Licensing (Small Venue Licence) Amendment Bill 2012 to Parliament, which amends the Liquor Licensing Act in order to encourage a small venue culture in Adelaide.
The Bill provides for a new category of liquor licence for small venues, with the government aiming to encourage more small and local venues to thrive in the city – much like Melbourne's laneway scene.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the amendment is another element in the government's plan to make Adelaide a more vibrant and energised place to live and work.
"These reforms will make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up a variety of licensed businesses such as small specialist bars and hybrid café bars," Mr Weatherill said.
Minister for Business Services and Consumers John Rau said the reforms will remove some of the barriers that prevent some small businesses from being established in the city.
"This reform will be a low cost, low doc licence, ideal for start-up businesses," Mr Rau said, adding that some small venue operators have been telling the government that the current structure of liquor licensing is inflexible and costly for their preferred business models.
"Consultation with these operators has produced streamlined reforms that will provide flexibility and simplicity required to nurture a diverse and robust hospitality industry in Adelaide," Mr Rau said.
According to the government, a small venue licence will include:
- Standard hours of service will be 11am to midnight on any day (other than Good Friday and Christmas Day) with extensions of opening hours until 2am possible upon application;
- The maximum capacity will be limited to 120 patrons;
- No separate application for entertainment consent will be required (approval at the Commissioner's discretion) for entertainment during standard hours of service; and
- Gaming will not be permitted.
The reforms will apply initially for 12 months in the Adelaide CBD only, however there is provision in the Bill for the reforms to apply in other areas of the State to be prescribed by regulation. The government said this will only occur after consultation with relevant industry bodies and councils.