Looking to extend your venue’s trading hours?

As featured in the latest edition of the QHA Magazine

As the new year gets well and truly underway, you may be considering your venue’s events calendar and the different functions that you are wanting to hold for your patrons through the year. As you know, your licensed venue is subject to specific trading hours under the Liquor Act 1992, which you may need to consider extending for certain functions or events. Depending on your proposal, extensions to trading hours can be sought on either a temporary (one-off) or permanent (ongoing) basis.

Temporary (one-off) Extended Trading Hours

For one-off events or special occasions that occur throughout the year, temporary one-off extended trading hours permits may be obtained from the OLGR. These events may include: New Year’s Eve, Australia Day, and large sporting or cultural events. For these kinds of events, the temporary one-off extended trading hours permits may be obtained to allow a licensed hotel to sell liquor before 10am, or between 12 midnight and 5 am.

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) will approve a maximum of:

  • 4 pre-10am trading permits in any 1-year period; and
  • 6 late night trading permits between 12am to 5am in a 1-year period.

Applications for a temporary extended trading hours permit must be made at least 21 days before the event. Other restrictions include that each of the late-night trading permits cannot be for more than 1 date in a calendar month. An exception may be made if there is a special occasion which runs over 2 or more consecutive days, however each consecutive day will still count as a separate permit (i.e., not one rolling permit).

Permits for late night trading will also only be approved if sought for a ‘special occasion’ which is defined as:

  • a unique or infrequent special public event of local, state or national significance (for example, local music festival or a televised international sporting match involving an Australian team); or
  • a private function closed to the public, such as a wedding or birthday.

If you need assistance in determining if you proposed date is a special occasion, please get in contact with me and we can assist.

Permanent (ongoing) Extended Trading Hours

If you are planning events or other functions which may require your business to operate later trading hours than you currently have, you may consider applying for permanent Extended Trading Hours.

The OLGR may approve your venue for extended liquor trading hours between 12am to 2am where it is located outside of a safe night precinct, and 12am to 3am for premises located within a safe night precinct. Separately, the gaming operations at your venue may be approved for maximum trading hours up to 2 hours after the liquor operation ceases.

If you are not sure whether your venue is located in a safe night precinct, the precinct maps can be found here.

To obtain approval for the permanent liquor extended trading hours after 12 midnight, the OLGR will require that a Community Impact Statement is lodged to assess the impact from the grant of the application. For the gaming extended trading hours, the OLGR will require the applicant to evidence that there is a demand for the proposed extended trading hours.

Alternatively, if you are planning any early morning functions, you may seek approval from the OLGR to permanently extend the trading hours of your venue pre-10am.However, this is not usually approved on a permanent basis for Commercial Hotels, other than for the operation of any on-site or detached bottleshop. To obtain approval for the pre-10am trading hours, the Applicant must be able to show a demonstrated community need for this trading. Relevant considerations may include the location of the licensed premises and the increase in population in that area.

Benefits of Extended Trading Hours

There may be various benefits for your business in obtaining approval for extended trading hours, depending on the unique circumstances of your operations. Generally, temporary one-off extended trading hours permits would be beneficial for your venue where you intend to provide services on special occasions throughout the year, such as for New Year’s Eve, memorable sporting events or nationally renowned holidays. It will also allow your business to capitalise on specific events and ultimately attract more customers by servicing demand during peak times.

Permanent extended trading hours can separately provide your business with more flexibility to service the demand from patrons, in turn contributing towards the revenue of your business. It may also allow your venue to have a competitive advantage and cater to a more diverse market, including shift workers and international tourists.

If you are considering extending your licensed trading hours to take advantage of increased business or have a specific event which requires extended trading hours, and you require assistance with the application process, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07 3224 0230. 

“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.”
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