“These are big enough increases to make a venue consider changing [opening hours]…consider changing [drink prices]” – Stephen Mullighan, Labor MP

In the lead up to the State Budget next month, the Government has announced a raft of fee increases in many areas, one of which is liquor licensing.

Since Treasurer Rob Lucas announced last week the changes to a number of fees around SA, a number of buisness owners have begun speaking out about the effect it may have on them. Bank Street Social for example says its annual liquor licensing fees could jump from around $1000 to $6000. Given that the fee increases may depend on things like opening hours, it could mean many pubs and bars could pass the extra cost onto customers, or even close much earlier than usual. Another plan would see a user-pay scheme for police presence at events.

So what effects could these changes have? Can anything be done to reduce the impact? Are these changes beneficial for SA? Wavelength spoke to Labor MP Stephen Mullighan about the issue. Attorney General Vickie Chapman also provided us with a statement which you can find below.

Statement from Attorney General Vickie Chapman:

“Liquor Licensing changes were detailed in last year’s budget and were developed both following the review undertaken by retired Supreme Court Judge the Hon Tim Anderson QC, which recommended implementing a risk-based annual liquor licensing fee structure and through analysis of the current fees being paid at all levels of licensees.

While the report was released in 2016 and some recommendations actioned, the former Labor Government did not begin implementing any fee changes before the 2018 State election, leaving this to the new Government, once again showing how reckless Labor are with the State’s budget.

The new structure brings South Australia in line with other States around the country.

An online calculator has been developed that will help licensees understand how their fees are expected to change, as well as the factors that influence those costs under the new structure, and CBS will be working with licensees to help them work through the changes.”

The statement also pointed out the following:

“Small bars only pay $425 as per the fees for small bars below:

  • Currently Small Bars pay an annual liquor fee of $115.
  • This price has not changed since the inception of small bars in 2015, and does not properly reflect their current economic positon and popularity.
  • As such, small venues and bars will have a base fee of $425.

Labor have also suggested on Facebook yesterday that large hotel and clubs will not see any increases. That’s just completely false, the new structure covers big venues, small venues and packaged alcohol venues.

The fee increases will kick in for new venues who apply for a license from November this year and for existing licensees, it will come into effect mid way through 2020.”

Airdate: May 27, 2019

Reporter: Zane Dean

Photo: Nineteen Ten

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