Liquor Amendment Bill Introduced

Today the ACT Government has introduced the Liquor (Night-Time Economy) Amendment Bill 2024, to remove regulatory barriers and assist licensed businesses to increase their participation in Canberra’s night-time economy.

Subject to passage of the legislation, changes will commence in July 2024 and offer a win-win for businesses, the community, and the ACT’s night-time economy.

The Bill’s amendments have been designed to create flexibility for businesses and legislate the ACT Government’s support for, and development of Canberra’s night-time businesses, while also ensuring harm minimisation and community safety principles remain effective.

Minister for Government Services and Regulatory Reform, Tara Cheyne, highlighted that the Bill includes a range of reforms which reflect what the Government has heard from those who work in and create Canberra’s night-time economy.

“This is a tranche of reforms designed to achieve the Government’s vision for Canberra’s night-time economy and forms part of a larger body of work to support night-time economy growth which also includes safety, support for entertainment precincts, and consultation on noise settings. We’ve heard from businesses and the community alike and are responding to their needs by fostering a dynamic social scene in the ACT.

“These latest amendments will ensure day or night, Canberrans and visitors alike can benefit from a city that is safe, accessible and rich with a diversity of experiences.”

Building upon measures already introduced on 1 January 2024 which included liquor fee reductions for small businesses and longer trading hours for restaurants and cafes, the Liquor (Night-Time Economy) Amendment Bill 2024 will reduce red tape and encourage greater opportunity for innovative business models.

If passed, the amendments will:

  • Encourage more live music, entertainment and cultural activity: Venues that showcase artists, musicians and other cultural activities will be eligible for significantly reduced liquor licensing fees – helping them to support more artists, creatives and performers.
  • Provide greater choice for night owls: Licensees will have more opportunities to extend their trading hours and modify their floor plans, giving Canberrans more options for a late-night bite or drink.
  • Support new businesses: Starting a licensed business will be easier with the introduction of interim liquor licences, allowing new businesses to open their doors faster.
  • Help special events come alive: The Government will have the power to declare special events with automatic extended trading hours for licensees.
  • Create a more vibrant nightlife: Offering a wider range of exciting options for after-dark entertainment, fostering a more dynamic and culturally rich city. The Government aims to create a safe and lively night-time scene with a wider variety of businesses catering to different interests.

“These reforms will support businesses to invest money in hiring local artists and performers, encourage appreciation of and support for the arts, and provide increased opportunities for community engagement with arts and culture.

“We want Canberra to be recognised as a destination of choice, where talents and creativity of businesses, artists and entrepreneurs are readily showcased and valued,” said Minister Cheyne.

“The reforms are expected to stimulate business growth, leading to the creation of new jobs across various sectors. The ACT Government is committed to fostering a thriving night-time economy that benefits businesses, the community, and the city’s economic well-being, without compromising on safety.”

/Public Release. View in full here.