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NSW Draft Code of Practice for Dance Parties

4. Liquor And Dance Parties On Licensed Premises

Liquor Licence

Liquor can only be served at Dance parties in certain circumstances. You can:

  • hold the Dance party on premises that are already licensed (for example, in a nightclub, hotel or registered club);
  • apply to the Licensing Court of NSW for an On-licence (function) licence, but only if you are a non-proprietary association and the Dance party is a fund raiser; or
  • make arrangements for the liquor to be supplied by a local hotelier near the proposed Dance party venue. The hotelier must first get approval from the Licensing Court.

For further information about On-licence (function) licence, or about hoteliers supplying liquor away from their licensed premises, contact the Licensing Court of NSW - Court Registry, telephone (02) 9289 8894, facsimile (02) 9289 8819.

Inquiries should be made as early as possible, at least 31 days before the event.

An approval from the local council must be held for registered clubs, hotels and licensed premises where entertainment is provided. See Section 5 for details.

Liquor and Harm Minimisation

The Liquor and Registered Clubs Acts require licensed premises to minimise the harm connected with the misuse or abuse of liquor, such as violent and anti-social behaviour. Licensees must ensure that practices are put in place so that liquor is sold, supplied and served responsibly. Also, that all reasonable steps will be taken to prevent intoxication on the premises.

This means a licensee should not use promotions or conduct activities which encourage binge or excessive drinking, or under age drinking. Also, the licensees and staff are to be trained in responsible serving practices. This includes refusing to serve liquor to an intoxicated person, asking them to leave, and seeking Police help if the person refuses to leave.

Liquor licensees and registered club managers are encouraged to check licensing issues with the Department of Gaming and Racing before staging a Dance party on their premises. Contact the Complaints Section, Special Investigations Branch, on telephone (02) 9289 8402 for more information.

Under 18s (alcohol free) Dance Parties on Licensed Premises

To hold an under 18s Dance party in a hotel or registered club, the licensee or club manager must apply for a "minors function authority" (for hotels) or a "functions authority" (for clubs, which includes functions for non-members). The application should be made to the NSW Licensing Court at least 21 days before the event. The local Police Patrol Commander must be notified in writing 7 days before each event.

These authorities are subject to a number of conditions, including those listed below.

The Dance party must be supervised by adults over 21 years of age, with one supervisor/security staff for every 100 patrons. Supervision/security must include checking tickets and bags on entry, patrolling toilets, supervising the function and access areas and patrolling the area around the licensed premises, checking that other patrons of the licensed premise do not enter the party, and under 18s do not move to other areas of the premises.

Advertising for the Dance party must state that the party is alcohol free, with adult supervision, with entry by pre-sold tickets only, and that any minor suspected of having consumed alcohol will be refused entry. If the Dance party is to be held in a hotel, advertising must also say that any person suspected of being under 15 years will not be admitted.

Function area
Under 18 patrons must not move into other areas of the licensed premises, and other hotel/club patrons must not bring liquor into, or enter, the function area (where the Dance party is being held). Signs denying access into, or out of, the function area must be set up.

Passouts reduce the ability to control the event and increase security problems, and are not recommended for under 18s dance parties. It should be made clear that patrons leaving the under 18s Dance party function area will not be re-admitted.

Noise and Safety
Promoters will need to make sure the Dance party does not create noise which causes problems for neighbours, and ensure the safe conduct of patrons around the licensed premise. Security patrols outside the premises will be needed, especially 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the Dance party. Also note the comments on transport in Section One.

At an under 18s Dance party on a licensed premise, no alcohol is to be sold, supplied, consumed or disposed of in the function area, or brought into the area by the licensee, the promoters, other patrons of the hotel/club, or Dance party patrons. Intoxicated persons are to be refused entry. Tobacco vending machines and gaming machines are also not allowed in the Dance party area.

The party must end at 12 midnight, or earlier if stated in the authorisation. All patrons must have left the function area 15 minutes after the party ends.

For further information on staging under 18s Dance parties in hotels or registered clubs, contact the Department of Gaming and Racing, Industry Development Branch, telephone (02) 9289 8647 or (02) 9289 8648, and facsimile (02) 9289 8669.

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