Since their introduction in 2017, mandatory ID Scanning laws have be a source of contention in the Queensland hotel and pub industry, so the latest amendments to the regime have been welcomed by Queensland licensees.
While we may not have achieved a perfect balance, the changes are a welcome attempt by the State Government to balance the need to tackle alcohol fuelled violence whilst also reducing the burden on licensees of adopting ID Scanners or reducing operating hours.
The results of a recent evaluation of the State Government’s Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Policy found that ultimately, one size does not fit all. While ID scanners have been proven to make precincts safer, the review confirmed what venue owners have been saying for years, that they are the cause of a fall in patronage, particularly on quieter weeknights.
As a reminder, prior to the reforms, licensees with venues in the safe night precinct and authorised to sell liquor after 1.00am were required to scan the ID of each patron on entry after 10.00pm. This applied on all nights the premises is authorised to supply liquor after midnight.
The notable amendments to ID scanning obligations are:
- Relaxed obligations on weeknights: Licensees will not have to operate ID scanners on Monday to Thursday, provided they close by 1.00am. Importantly, to qualify for this relaxation under the Liquor Act, your premises must close by 1.00am (as opposed to serving last drinks). Venues trading past 1.00am, will need to continue to operate ID scanners from 10.00pm until close.
- Introduction of re-entry policy: Venues in Safe Night Precincts can introduce a re-entry policy meaning patrons will no longer have to be scanned every time they re-enter your venue. The re-entry pass system can be by way of a stamp or wristband, provided that it is unique to your venue and unique to a specific trading period. Importantly, venues will need to ensure any stamps or wristbands are unique to the trading period and cannot be duplicated (for example, make sure a stamp or wristband issued on a Friday night cannot be used on a Saturday night).
- Extended minimum police banning order: Individuals issued with a banning notice for disorderly, offensive or violent behaviour will be prevented from entering a Safe Night Precinct premises or specified venue for a minimum period of one month, an extension to the previous minimum of ten days.
There is no doubting ID scanning has impacted venues throughout Queensland, not to mention New South Wales where calls to the New South Wales State Government to dilute these consequences have largely gone unanswered. However, hopefully these reforms will improve operating conditions for Queensland owners and operators, resulting in an increase in patrons and revenue.
If you need more information on your rights and requirements in relation to ID Scanning, contact Curt Schatz at Mullins Law on 07 32240230.