ILLAWARRA licensed venues have been warned to be vigilant after a Wollongong restaurant was named on the Three Strikes public register for breaching its trading hours.
The licensee of Red Square, in Keira Street, Wollongong, was convicted by the Wollongong Local Court on October 11, triggering a first ‘strike’ under the NSW Government’s Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.
At about 1am on Saturday July 28 licensing police observed five people on the rear deck of the restaurant drinking alcohol, one hour after the restaurant’s approved closing hour of midnight.
Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) Director of Compliance Paul Newson said it was illegal for licensees to operate outside their approved trading hours and serious penalties apply.
“Licensed premises wanting to trade past midnight need a special authorisation which reflects the risks and potential community harms associated with late night trading,” Mr Newson said.
“While most licensees do the right thing, this Wollongong breach should serve as a warning to Illawarra licensees that they need to be vigilant in abiding by their approved licence conditions.
“Licensed premises, whether they be hotels, nightclubs or licensed restaurants, must stick to approved trading hours or face tough penalties under the liquor laws.
“It is illegal for alcohol to be sold, supplied or consumed inside a licensed venue outside of approved trading hours, with court imposed penalties of up to $11,000 and 12 months imprisonment possible in serious cases.
Under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme, ‘strikes’ are incurred for a range of serious offences under the Liquor Act when a licensee or approved manager is convicted in court; pays a penalty notice to the State Debt Recovery Office; or is issued with an enforcement order by the State Debt Recovery Office for failing to pay a penalty notice.
A first strike is automatically incurred upon conviction or payment of a penalty notice for a single offence and is active for three years from the date of the offence.
A first strike may result in the imposition of specific licence conditions by the Director General of NSW Trade & Investment, of which OLGR is a division.
A second and third strike can be incurred upon conviction or payment of a penalty notice for further offences committed within three years.
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.
Twenty seven NSW licensed venues have now incurred a first strike with the public register of strikes available for viewing on the OLGR website