The Liquor Licensing (Liquor Production and Sales Licence) Amendment Bill 2020 makes a number of necessary amendments to the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 (the act). The bill seeks to reinforce the government's position that alcohol should not be readily available in supermarkets.
It is proposed to amend the Liquor Production and Sales (LPS) licence category to confirm that the licensed premises must not be comprised of premises ordinarily known or advertised as a supermarket, convenience store or delicatessen and enables the government to prescribe further premises by regulation. Significantly, there is no restriction in the act to prevent an applicant for the LPS licence category from seeking a licence to sell alcohol in supermarkets, whereas an application for a packaged liquor sales licence may only be granted for a supermarket premises if the licensing authority is satisfied there is a proper reason to do so.
A number of applications have recently been made for a LPS licence by a supermarket operator which, if granted, would result in alcohol being made available for sale on supermarket shelves. This amendment will put beyond doubt the government’s longstanding position not to allow the sale of alcohol to occur on supermarket shelves.
The bill also seeks to address technical issues in the LPS licence category which commenced on 18 November 2019. I should mention that this is in relation to legislation that was passed under the previous government with the consent of the then opposition. The LPS licence category is a combination of the former producer’s and wholesale liquor merchant’s licence categories. Historically, producers who also sold liquor they did not produce by wholesale were required to hold two licences. The intention of combining the two licence categories was to allow licence holders to operate both aspects of their business under the one licence.
The bill seeks to address a loophole under the LPS licence provisions that allow businesses to sell liquor that they have not produced, through direct sales transactions such as online sales or by mail order. It is proposed to limit the sale of liquor by direct sales transactions to the licensee's product only, except where the sale is by wholesale or where liquor is sold in quantities of 4.5 litres or more.
An amendment is also required to ensure that the government’s policy position is better reflected that this category of licence is intended for genuine producers or wholesalers of liquor. This will prevent applicants who are not genuine producers or wholesalers attempting to sell liquor they do not produce through direct sales transactions under this licence category.
The bill includes a transitional provision to ensure that the amendments to the LPS licence category will apply to licences already granted and to existing applications. Finally, an amendment is required to expand the circumstances where a person can seek a review of a decision made by the commissioner with permission of the Licensing Court.
I commend the bill to the house and seek leave to have the explanation of clauses inserted in Hansard without my reading it.
Explanation of Clauses
These clauses are formal.
Part 2—Amendment of Liquor Licensing Act 1997
3—Amendment of section 39—Liquor production and sales licence
Section 39(1)(d) of the Act currently provides that the holder of a liquor production and sales licence is authorised to sell liquor through direct sales transactions. This amendment provides that the holder of the licence may only sell liquor by direct sales transaction if it is—
the licensee's product; or
in an aggregate quantity of 4.5 litres or more; or
sold by wholesale.
Subclause (2) inserts a new subsection (2)(e) which provides that licensed premises in respect of a liquor production and sales licence must not be comprised of—
premises ordinarily known or advertised as a supermarket, convenience store or delicatessen; or
premises of a prescribed kind.
Subclause (3) inserts a new subsection (4a) which provides that it be a condition of a liquor production and sales licence that at least 90% of the licensee's gross turnover from the sale of liquor (other than the licensee's product) for consumption off the licensed premises and through direct sales transactions in each financial year (excluding sales of liquor to the licensee's own employees and sales for the delivery of liquor outside Australia) must be derived from the sale of liquor by wholesale.
Subclause (4) inserts a new subsection (8a) which provides that the licensing authority may exempt a licensee from the requirement in proposed subsection (2)(e) if, in the opinion of the licensing authority, it is in the public interest to do so.
Schedule 1—Transitional provision
This clause makes transitional arrangements consequent on the enactment of the measure.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. A. Koutsantonis.