Small bar licences were first introduced to SA in 2013. When the Bill passed, the scheme was given a one year trial period, during which licences would only be granted to venues located in the CBD.
A recent review by former Supreme Court Justice Tim Anderson of the Liquor Licensing Act stated that small bars should be allowed to open in North Adelaide. Small bars provide an ample opportunity for new venues to promote activity and vibrancy within areas of the city.
Since early 2014, the current and former Consumer and Business Affairs Ministers have had the power to extend small venue licences beyond the CBD limits. However, they have not done so.
The current situation is at odds with the understanding of the State Parliament when debating the Government Bill. Elected Members clearly believed that the licensing scheme would, after a trial year, become readily available in their local regions and suburbs, particularly where a local government body sought that outcome.
The Local Government Association’s Ordinary General Meeting on 15 April 2016 supported the extension of small bar licensing beyond the Adelaide CBD, and this position was the basis of the LGA’s submission to the Government’s Liquor Licensing Review.
However, while the Review has recommended extending the licences to North Adelaide, the rest of South Australia were ignored. The July LGA media statement states: “While some councils may – in consultation with their communities – decide against the implementation of small bar licensing, this shouldn’t preclude other areas of the State from benefiting from this opportunity.”
The reluctance to extend the small bar licensing scheme is a concern the Greens. It has been raised in questions to the relevant Ministers since 2014.
It is an unsatisfactory outcome that what has been described as a ‘competitive advantage’ is being confined only to the City of Adelaide council area. This is why the Greens have recently introduced the Liquor Licensing (Small Venue Licence) Amendment Bill 2016. The Bill intends to effect the extension of the small venue liquor licence (commonly called the ‘small bars’ licence, which caters for venues with less than 120 patrons and reduces ‘red tape’) to reach beyond the currently prescribed area of the CBD only.
Sign the support statement
To whom it may concern,
I am extending my support for the Liquor Licensing (Small Venue Licence) Amendment Bill 2016as introduced by the Honourable Tammy Franks MLC in the Legislative Council.
The expansion of the small bar licence state-wide would create opportunities for small venues in our suburbs. We’ve seen the success of the small venues in our City of Adelaide, and it’s time to bring the vibrancy, economic and social boost to the suburbs.