Northern Territory Explanatory Statements

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LIQUOR LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2007

2007

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE
NORTHERN TERRITORY

MINISTER FOR RACING, GAMING AND LICENSING

Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2007
SERIAL NO. 113

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT


GENERAL OUTLINE

The Liquor Amendment Bill 2007 reforms the Liquor Act to:

(a) Provide the responsible Minister (“Minister”) with urgent powers to declare liquor restrictions and impose special licence conditions for the wellbeing of the community;

(b) Provide the Minister with power to impose Liquor Supply Plans;

(c) Improve time frames in relation to the return of seized vehicles;

(d) Increase police powers of search for breaches of general and special restricted areas; and

(e) Prohibit licensees from accepting bookup as payment for liquor purchases.

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1. Short Title.

This is a formal clause which provides for the citation of the Bill.
The Bill when passed may be cited as the Liquor Legislation Amendment Act 2007.

Clause 2. Commencement.

The amendments will commence on a date fixed by the Administrator by Gazette.

Clause 3 Act Amended

This act amends the Liquor Act.

Clause 4 Amendment of section 4 (Interpretation)

This clause includes new terms in the definition section.

It clarifies that the term “community” includes an individual member and a group of members of a community.

It further clarifies that the term “condition” refers to conditions of a licence determined or varied under Part III of the Liquor Act.

It explains that Part VIII references to “permits” are referring to permits granted by the Licensing Commission and “permits” referred to in

Part VIIIAA refer to permits granted by the responsible Minister.

Clarifies that the term ‘relevant offence” in Part VIII means a breach of section 94A or 101AA (general restricted area) whilst in Part VIIIAA it is a breach of section 101AM (special restricted area).

It further clarifies that the term “special restricted area” refers to a declaration made by the responsible Minister pursuant to section 101AD.

And further clarifies that the term “thing” is a reference to any thing used in the commission of an offence or that maybe used as evidence in proceedings for the prosecution of an offence.

Clause 5 Repeal and Substitution of Part III, Division 2 heading

Repeals the heading of Part III Division 2 “Conditions of Licences” and replaces with “Division 2 – Condition of Licence Generally”. This is to accommodate the new Division 2AA.

Clause 6 Amendment of section 32A (Variation of Conditions on Application by Licensee)

This clause clarifies that a licensee cannot apply to the

Licensing Commission to vary a condition imposed by the

Minister under Division 2AA.

Clause 7 Amendment of section 33 (Commission May Vary Conditions)

This clause clarifies that the Licensing Commission cannot vary a licence condition imposed by the Minister under Division 2AA.

Clause 8 New Part III, Division 2AA

This clause inserts a new Division within Part III of the Liquor Act “Additional Conditions Determined by Minister.” It inserts section 33AA providing the responsible Minister with the power to impose special conditions on general licences if urgently needed for the wellbeing of the communities that might be affected by the operation of the licence and after taking into account the circumstances of the community.

This power is intended to complement other powers under this Bill to restrict liquor. Examples of the type of conditions that could be imposed include trading hours, types of liquor sold and prohibiting takeaway sales.

This power is not limited to licensees in or near restricted areas.

The Minister can impose conditions on licensees in other areas if the operation is impacting on a community under a special restricted declaration.

Any determination made under this section must be tabled in the Legislative Assembly within 6 sitting days of the decision.

This power can be used to impose conditions for a Liquor Supply Plan.

Information, advice or recommendations maybe sought from the Licensing Commission to exercise this power.

Clause 9 Amendment of Part III, Division 2A heading

Removes the phrase “of liquor” from the heading

“Special conditions of certain licences about payment for liquor.”

This is to reflect the extension of this part to all licences. Currently the part only applies to takeaway sales licences.

Clause 10 Amendment of section 33C (Special conditions of licences)

Modifies section 33C to clarify that this division does not prevent the placement of more stringent conditions on a licence by way of variation by the Minister or the Licensing Commission.

Clause 11 Amendment of section 33E (Retention of credit and debit cards)

Amends section 33E(1) to clarify that licensees must not retain a person’s debit or credit card for security of payment for purchases of any goods, including liquor.

If licensees feel they should be able to use bookup, they will need to seek an exemption from the Licensing Commission.

Clause 12 Amendment of section 48A (Power to suspend licence or impose or vary condition)

This clause clarifies that the Licensing Commission power to suspend, vary or impose licence conditions, does not include a condition imposed by the responsible Minister under section 33AA.

Clause 13 Amendment of section 49 (Decision on consideration of complaint)

This clause clarifies that the Licensing Commission in considering the complaint cannot modify conditions imposed by the Minister under section 33AA.

Clause 14 New section 59A

Inserts section 59A which provides the Minister with power to impose additional conditions on special licences.

The Minister can consult with the Commission in determining conditions to impose but must have regard to the objects of the Act. Any determination made under this section must be tabled in the Legislative Assembly within 6 sitting days of the decision.

This power can be used to impose licence conditions for a Liquor Supply Plan in a particular area.

Information, advice or recommendations maybe sought from the Licensing Commission to exercise this power.

Clause 15 Repeal and substitution of Part VIII heading

Removes the heading in Part VIII “Restricted Areas” and replaces with “General and Public Restricted Areas.”

This is to accommodate a fourth category of restrictions in the new

Part VIIIAA.

Clause 16 Repeal and Substitution of Part VIII, Division 1 heading

Repeals the heading “Restricted Areas” and replaces with “General and Public Restricted Areas.”

The creation of Part VIIIAA in this Bill means that Part VIII is no longer the only part dealing with restrictions and therefore the wording needs to be changed to reflect this. Part VIIIAA creates special restricted area declarations.

Clause 17 Amendment of section 73 (Interpretation)

Inserts new definitions for the interpretation section of Part VIII.

It inserts a definition of “area of land,” “relevant area,” “relevant offence” and “restricted area”.

Clause 18 Repeal and Substitution of sections 95 to 101

Repeals section 95-101. These provisions deal with the seizure and forfeiture of goods (including vehicles) involved in a breach of a general restricted area.

The replacing provisions are largely the same in effect as the current provisions but with the following modifications:

(a) The Commissioner of Police will have jurisdiction (instead of the Licensing Commission and the responsible minister) to return seized goods, including vehicles to third parties with an interest who were not involved in the relevant offence.

(b) Once a Court proceeding has ended the court will have jurisdiction over the return of seized goods. An application is to be made within 60 days of the Court decision. A failure to make an application will result in the goods being forfeited;
(c) Provides police with power to randomly search individuals or vehicles for liquor; and
(d) Provides police with power to search anywhere else if they have a reasonable suspicion that the restriction is being breached.
Clause 19 New Part VIIIAA

Inserts a new Part into the Liquor Act providing the Minister with power to declare a special restricted area.

Special restricted areas can cover any designated area

(e.g. town camps, aboriginal land, common areas of public housing complexes). A declaration prevents bringing, possessing, supplying or engaging in conduct to supply, consuming or otherwise disposing of liquor.

The responsible Minister can declare where urgently needed for the:

(a) wellbeing of the communities affected; and
(b) after taking into account the circumstances of the affected communities.
There is no consultation required by the Minister, but the Minister can seek advice from the Licensing Commission.

The Licensing Commission may also of its own volition choose to put recommendations to the Minister which the Minister is not bound to accept.

The Minister is given power to issue, modify or revoke permits in a special restricted area. Permits are only to be issued for a specified purpose. A permit can only be issued if the Minister has considered the likely impact on the affected communities, any views expressed by the affected communities and is satisfied that there is unlikely to be any harm to the community in granting the permit.

A breach of a permit attracts a maximum penalty of $1000 or

6 months imprisonment.

Defences:

a) It is a defence to a breach of special restricted area if it can be demonstrated that the liquor was used for a religious service approved by the Director of Licensing and Regulation; or
b) in regard to bringing or having liquor in a special restricted area, it is a defence to transport unopened liquor through a special restricted area to a place outside the restricted area. The onus of proof lies with the individual to demonstrate their intent and the destination of the liquor.
c) The act is permitted by a liquor licence or permit.
Police are given the same search and seizure powers are for general restricted area.

Police can seize goods (including vehicles) but goods cannot be forfeited as a punitive measure against the offender. The offender can seek the return of the vehicle from the court if they are charged, or from the Commissioner of Police if not charged. If they fail to claim the goods they will be forfeited to the Northern Territory.

Otherwise the return of seized goods provisions operate on the same terms as for the general restricted area provisions.

Provisions are also established for non-offenders to seek compensation for destroyed liquor.

Clause 20 New Part XV

Inserts a new part to deal with matters of a transitional nature.

This part provides that permits and licences granted prior to the amendments remain on foot.

Clause 21 Further amendments

Provides for the schedule to amend the Liquor Act to clarify when the Act is talking about the court of summary jurisdiction and when the local court.

Clause 22 Amendment of Liquor Regulations

Amends the regulations to provide for infringement offences for breaches of section 101AE(1) and section 101AK(2) of the Act.

 


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