The NSW Government has announced a quick start for plans on relaxing bottleshop closing times and boosting small bars “in time for the festive season”.
Government’s response last week to the long-awaited ‘Callinan Review’ spoke of a package of measures to mediate the “undesirable consequences” the strict conditions commonly known as the ‘lockout laws’ had caused.
These measures were championed by increased patron numbers for small bars (from 60 to 100) and an extra hour of trading for take-away outlets and home delivery alcohol (from 10pm to 11pm). These two aspects begin today.
“We have brought forward these reforms so communities and businesses across NSW can take advantage of later trading times during the busy summer holiday period,” said Minister for Justice Troy Grant.
“The extension of takeaway alcohol sales from 10pm to 11pm will be closely monitored by Liquor & Gaming NSW and evaluated annually.”
The other consolation was an extra half-hour after the 1:30 lockout and 3am cease service – but only for certified entertainment-based venues in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD precincts.
This adjustment was last week approved by parliament, and Grant reports Liquor & Gaming NSW is “working with the industry” to get the half-hour shift enacted soon. Eligible venues can apply from 1 January, and exemptions will begin to apply from 16 January, 2017.
Importantly, L&G NSW also notes that “applications can still be made” for exemptions on restrictions on the sale of certain cocktails and straight spirits and liqueurs after midnight, by “specialty venues” in the entertainment precincts.
This could become a significant point for the boutique whiskey and high-end bars that have been unable to serve even top-shelf spirits without the addition of a mixer.