Risk-based licensing and alcohol-related offences in the Australian Capital Territory

Rebecca Mathews, Timothy Legrand

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    On 1 December 2010, the Australian Capital Territory introduced the new Liquor Act 2010 (the Liquor Act). A major change in the Liquor Act was the introduction of risk-based licensing (RBL), a scheme that calculates licensing fees according to venue type, occupancy and trading hours. The revenue generated from RBL fees was intended to offset costs for 10 new police officers and additional licensing regulators to enforce and administer the new Liquor Act (1). Other licensing reforms were also enacted through this legislation, including mandatory responsible service of alcohol (RSA) training, mandatory risk assessment plans for new licensees, new criminal offences for supplying liquor to intoxicated people and inappropriate promotion of alcohol, and emergency powers for Australian Federal Police ACT Policing, the local police authority in Canberra, to close premises for up to 24 hours. These additional reforms are discussed in more detail elsewhere (2).1 One year after the introduction of these reforms, a governmental inquiry found reductions in alcoholrelated arrests, assaults and people taken into protective custody for intoxication of 17.6%, 6.0% and 9.7% respectively (1). However, the inquiry did not explore the extent of reductions at licensed premises in entertainment precincts after midnight. This study explores changes in alcohol-related offences in the Australian Capital Territory since RBL was introduced, and the perceptions of police, licensees and regulators of the consequences and limitations of RBL. Specifically, it aims to determine whether there have been changes in alcoholrelated offences from 2010 to 2012 overall, and in the main entertainment precincts, particularly Civic. This is the first Australian study to evaluate the impacts of RBL on alcohol-related offences and the first evaluation of the Australian Capital Territory licensing reforms. Given the substantial costs of alcoholrelated offences to health, police, justice and social services and to the economy (3), evaluating RBL has important implications for state, territory and Commonwealth governments that seek to reduce and recover these costs and improve the regulation of licensed premises.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationStemming the tide of alcohol: Liquor licensing and the public interest
    Editors E Manton, R Room, C Giorgi & M Thorn
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherFoundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)
    ISBN (Print)9780734049315
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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