'Three Strikes' disciplinary scheme
A key principle of the three strikes scheme is that strikes can be imposed when a licensee or approved manager is convicted (including via payment of a penalty notice, or alternatively, where an enforcement order is made by the State Debt Recovery Office when a penalty notice is not paid) of one of a range of the most serious offences under the Liquor Act.
These offences are prescribed in the Act and include:
- a. permitting intoxication on licensed premises
- b. permitting indecent, violent or quarrelsome conduct on licensed premises
- c. selling or supplying alcohol to an intoxicated person or a minor
- d. allowing alcohol to be sold or supplied to a minor on licensed premises
- e. permitting the use or sale of substances which a licensee or manager suspects are illicit drugs
- d. not complying with a direction issued by the Director General to a licensee or staff
- e. selling or supplying alcohol outside of authorised trading hours
- f. non-compliance with a closure order issued under the Liquor Act to prevent or reduce a significant risk to the public interest where there are serious breaches of the Act, and
- g. a breach of key liquor licence conditions applying to violent venues listed in schedule 4 of the Liquor Act, or conditions imposed on a venue that has incurred strikes.
The defendant for these offences is the licensee or the approved manager.
Under the scheme, a first strike is automatically incurred upon conviction for a single offence and is active for three years from the date of the offence. It should be noted that licence conditions may be imposed when a first strike has been incurred.
A second and third strike is discretionary, and can be imposed upon conviction, payment of a penalty notice or the issue of an enforcement order for further offences committed within three years of the first offence.
Whether the premises are captured by the violent venues scheme in schedule 4 of the Liquor Act, venue size and patron capacity, change of licensee and business owners, changes to business practices, compliance and incident history, and crime statistics all need to be taken into account when determining whether strikes should be incurred and licence conditions imposed.
A third strike can result in the imposition of licence conditions, licence suspension for up to 12 months, licence cancellation and a moratorium on a new liquor licence being granted for the same business operators at the venue for up to 12 months, and/or disqualification of a licensee for any period of time.
For registered clubs, a third strike can result in imposition of licence conditions, disqualification of a club secretary, dismissal of any or all of the club directors, and/or the appointment of an administrator to manage the club.
The 'three strikes' scheme provides an opportunity for licensees and managers to review their business practices and any alcohol and security management plans to reduce the risk of incidents that can lead to liquor offences and strikes being incurred.
Licensees need to proactively manage any risks they may have in their business model, and implement appropriate remedial measures. This could include a higher level of security, better monitoring of patron service and consumption patterns, and greater vigilance in the refusal of service to patrons if they are approaching intoxication.
The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing provides a range of tools on this website to assist in reducing risk and remaining compliant with the liquor laws – including self-audit checklists, as well as intoxication and liquor promotion guidelines.
A register of venues that have incurred strikes is available at http://www.olgr.nsw.gov.au/liquor_3_strikes_register.asp
A fact sheet on the scheme provides further detail on the scheme.
Agreement in principle speech (PDF 49 kb) given by the Hon George Souris MP, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts. The agreement in principle speech provides a detailed explanation of the new laws.
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