From the olgr

Mike Sarquis
Executive Director, OLGR

p: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

New identified organisation and what it means for you

The Attorney-General has already spoken about the recent declaration of another ‘identified organisation’ – outlaw motorcycle gang, Satudarah. 

So how will this affect your day-to-day business? 

It is illegal for a person to enter a licensed venue if they are wearing or carrying prohibited items – this will now include participants of Satudarah.

Prohibited items, as defined in the Liquor Act 1992, include items of clothing or jewellery/accessories that display:
  • the name of an identified organisation
  • the club patch, insignia or logo of an identified organisation (i.e. 'colours')
  • any image, symbol, abbreviation, acronym or other form of writing that indicates membership of, or an association with, an identified organisation, including:
  • ​the symbol '1%'
  • the symbol '1%er'
  • any other image, symbol, abbreviation, acronym or any other form of writing prescribed under the Act.       
A licensee or staff member can be fined up to $12,615 for knowingly allowing a person wearing or carrying prohibited items to enter or remain on the premises. 

However, you don’t commit an offence if you have taken reasonable steps to refuse, exclude or remove a person wearing or carrying prohibited items, or if you reasonably believe it was not safe or practical to do so.

If at any time licensees or staff feels their safety is compromised, contact the Queensland Police Service (QPS) immediately.

There are now 27 identified organisations. Some are more known than others, so I would encourage licensees and approved managers to update staff training to include these laws and how to identify these organisations.

For a full list of these organisations, including logos, please visit www.business.qld.gov.au/liquor.

Recent prosecutions

Over recent months our compliance division has completed several important prosecutions.

OLGR generally prefers an educative approach in regulating the liquor and gaming industries, in a way that achieves positive harm minimisation outcomes. However, on occasion, it is unfortunately necessary for punitive enforcement action to be taken.

While the majority of licensees are compliant with the law, there are still some areas that we need to be mindful of.

Failing to comply with a noise condition

Around 33 per cent of complaints received each year by OLGR are related to excessive noise. We need a united approach to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the needs and rights of both community and industry in this area. To assist with this, conditions are placed on some liquor licences that relate to the noise from entertainment, patrons or motors.

The licensee of a Gold Coast tapas and cocktail bar was recently prosecuted and fined $4,500 in the Southport Magistrates Court, for failing to comply with a noise condition on two separate occasions in 2017. Prior to the prosecutions commencing, OLGR had worked with the licensee to address the noise issue, including issuing a number of warnings and infringement notices. 

The court heard that following several complaints from the public, OLGR compliance officers conducted noise source testing at the bar, and on both occasions, the noise was louder than the allowed maximum set by the condition on the licence. 

After the first incident, it was found that the noise analyser used by the bar was not calibrated correctly, and both the licensee and the manager failed to fix or replace the equipment.

All licensees must be aware of their licence 
conditions and ensure that noise coming from their venue is not unreasonable, or, that it does not exceed a noise limit condition. 

Credit betting

In April, the Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard that an employee of a betting agency extended himself a large amount of credit to take part in wagering.

Credit betting, in any form, is a breach of the Wagering Act 1998 and can result in severe penalties for both staff members and licensees. 

Licensees have a duty of care to look out for signs of problem gambling with their own staff. Help and support is available – check out the information about identifying a problem gambler at www.gamblinghelpqld.org.au.  

Selling alcohol without a licence

In another case heard in Maroochydore Magistrates Court in May – two Noosa licensees were penalised and convicted for selling liquor without a licence and supplying/allowing the consumption of liquor at an unauthorised time.

The Magistrate said that licensees have a public policy obligation to comply with the conditions on their licences and therefore a responsibility to familiarise themselves with all the conditions.

Please refer to the wealth of information, including several training videos, on our website at www.business.qld.gov.au/liquor-gaming

Important reminders 
  • If you haven’t paid your annual liquor licence fee by now, your licence will have been suspended.  Please pay your fees by 28 August to avoid your liquor licence being automatically cancelled.  Selling liquor with a suspended or cancelled licence incurs a fine of $2,611.
  • The annual increase in penalty units occurred at the start of July. Penalty units increased from $126.15 to $130.55. We have amended our downloadable signage with the new fine amounts.  Please check your in-venue signage, and update where necessary.
  • If you employ the services of a security firm, familiarise yourself with the recent changes to the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 – it could affect you: www.labourhire.qld.gov.au