Common sense prevails in NT licensing ruling

07 August, 2019 by Andy Young

Retail Drinks Australia has received clarification that certain household items containing small amounts of alcohol will not be subject to licensing requirements in order to be sold in the Northern Territory.

At the end of last month the NT’s regulator was slammed over an apparent backflip which meant items containing more than 1.15 per cent by volume of ethyl alcohol and in a container of more than 50ml could only be sold in licensed premises and would also therefore be subjected to the Territory’s minimum unit pricing laws.

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Confused was caused by the wording of a letter distributed by NT Licensing in early July, and subsequent store visits by licensing inspectors.

However in an update to members, Retail Drinks said the issue had been clarified.

“Following a call earlier today with Licensing, Retail Drinks can now confirm that it is our understanding that only beverages are governed by the Liquor Act 1978, and therefore only beverages can be regulated by NT Licensing,” the association said.

“Therefore, any non-beverage product which contains more than 1.15 per cent ethyl alcohol by volume and in a container larger than 50ml may continue to be sold in retail outlets without the authority of a liquor licence and alongside other normal grocery products.

“Licensing has now issued a letter clarifying the definition of a liquor product which has been distributed to all retailers who received the original letter in early July.”