Striking the right balance with risk-based liquor licences

A risk-based liquor licensing fee structure is now in place across the board for South Australian venues – ensuring licence costs strike the right balance between protecting the public and supporting the hospitality sector.

In 2019, a new fee structure was introduced, with a focus on minimising the potential for alcohol-related problems in areas and circumstances of higher risk.

However, in order to assist businesses through the pandemic, the Marshall Liberal Government waived liquor licence fees for most licence categories in 2020/21.

This financial year will therefore be the first year in which most licensees will have the new fee structure applied to their annual fees.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said this will affect businesses in different ways, depending on their risk level.

“Low risk venues, such as local football and community clubs, will see licence fee reductions of up to $580,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“However, venues that sell alcohol into the early hours of the morning and have a large capacity, will see fee increases,” she said.

Treasurer of the Victor Harbor Football Club, Richard Livingston, said the licence fee changes will save the club hundreds of dollars a year.

“This is a great outcome for community clubs, such as ours, who only run part-time operations,” Mr Livingston said.

President of the Croatian Sports Centre SA, Juli Cirjak, said it will assist the volunteer-run organisation.

“Every dollar counts at our community club, so these changes are welcome,” Ms Cirjak said.

“We want to create a safe, comfortable, fun and inviting environment for people to come and get active, as well as socialise,” she said.

Attorney-General Chapman said the reform was announced in response to former Supreme Court Justice the Honourable Timothy Anderson QC’s independent review into our State’s liquor licensing laws.

“It recommended sweeping changes to licensing fees through the introduction of a risk-based model.

“The revised fee structure takes into consideration submissions made by industry bodies to the Government during consultation, and focusses on deterring and minimising anti-social behaviour in high risk areas and circumstances,” she said.
Consumer and Business Services has made available a hardship application process for eligible businesses, meaning business owners unable to meet their liquor licence fees can access financial relief.

“Further to this, the Government announced earlier this month a discount of up to 50% on annual liquor licence fees in 2021/22 for those licensees most affected by COVID.

“Eligible businesses are those that received a JobKeeper payment from January to March 2021.

“To date, 342 applications for this discount have been received, with a savings estimate of $323,190,” she said.

Further information about SA’s liquor law reform can be found here:

Eligible venues can apply for further waivers by visiting the CBS website