The Liquor and Gaming (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 will, among other things, make certain adjustmentsto the requirements with respect to approved managers. Most of the changes are achieved by adding to the existing approved manager provisions a requirement that in addition to being an approved manager the relevant person must also be an employee of the licensee. This is of significance when one considers that compliance with the approved manager requirements for many venues is often achieved using a director of the licensee company, or contracted third parties.
According to the explanatory notes, the intention of the amendment is "to ensure that an approved manager who is present at the premises must be employed in the capacity of an approved manager, not just performing other duties or present (sic) on the premises for social purposes". The amendment has broader implications however. The use of the term "employee" in the legislation has specific legal consequences, potentially excluding company directors who are not employed, as well as contractors. Some licensees use labour hire companies for the provision of personnel, including managers. Others have approved management agreements
Interestingly, the proposed amendments to the closure for unlawful trading provisions in Section 141 include an express reference to the conduct of the business by an approved manager employed not by the licensee, but by a third party with an approved management agreement. In these circumstances there will be no basis for the premises to be closed, but the licensee will still be non-compliant with the Section 155AD requirement that an approved manager employed by the licensee be present or reasonably available.
The approved manager register which has long been considered overly bureaucratic and unnecessary will be scrapped. The explanatory notes to the Bill very accurately describe the register as "simply an unnecessary administrative burden and duplication of existing employment records kept by licensees". However, it’s unlikely that any of the fines handed out to approved managers forgetting to sign off after their shift will be refunded.