Like many of the regulatory requirements confronting liquor industry participants, it’s difficult to find any express reference in the Liquor Act to the consequences of an Approved Manager’s RMLV certificate expiring. In fact, despite an intensive reading and searching exercise, I’ve failed to turn anything up. This surprised me as I expected one of two outcomes.
- The first was that hidden away in the high 142ZZZ(etc) sections of the Act would be an unnoticed provision declaring the automatic cancellation or suspension of the approved manager licence.
- The second was that there would be no consequence at all, and it would really be a matter for the approved manager to address on pain of being investigated and found to be no longer a suitable person to hold the approved manager status.
In the absence of any express provision, I formed the initial view that the second outcome was the real one, which I cautiously communicated to a particular liquor compliance officer. However, perhaps prompted by a general sense of doubt – logically how can the lapsing of the basic qualification for being an approved manager not have any effect – the astute, if somewhat inexperienced compliance officer did some further homework and came back to me with an alternative and compelling proposition.
Under Section 155AE of the Liquor Act, a licensee is required to keep on the premises a copy of the current RMLV certificate of any approved manager employed in the business. Note the word “current”. The offence carries a whopping 100 penalty unit maximum fine, which translates to a large sum of money – a penalty unit being similar in value to bitcoin. Unlike bitcoin, the value of a penalty unit increases every year without fail, roughly in line with the CPI, on 1 July. As at the time of writing the value is $126.15 increasing to $130.55. Multiply this by 5 if the offender is a corporation.
So the simple version of things, concisely stated by the intrepid compliance officer, is that the clear intention of the legislation is that whilst an approved manager approval does not automatically lapse or get cancelled or suspended upon expiry of the RMLV certificate, that person should not act in the capacity of an approved manager until a new RMLV certificate has been obtained.
Although it seems like a glaring omission in the Act that it does not deal directly with such an obvious matter, it’s hard to argue with the logic. So, if you haven’t done so recently, now would be a good time to check the expiry dates on your approved managers’ RMLV certificates.