Last drinks will soon be called later in Canberra's small restaurants and cafes under new regulations designed to boost night-time trading in the capital.
Licensed cafes and restaurants with 80 or fewer seats will have their liquor licence costs cut and be granted automatic two-hour trading extensions to 2am.
Business Minister Tara Cheyne said the changes would come into effect from January 1, with further changes to be made later in 2024 and a consultation on new entertainment precinct noise rules over summer.
"These changes aim to reduce costs for businesses, encourage extended trading hours and foster innovative business models - ultimately contributing to a more dynamic and diverse night-time experience for Canberrans," Ms Cheyne said.
General licensed premises will also no longer need to have separate areas to sell liquor for consumption on and off the premises.
The government will also later introduce a scheme for licensed venues with occupancies up to 150 people to allow them to apply for liquor licence fee discounts of 80 per cent if they support artists, musicians and performers.
About 300 venues would be eligible for the scheme, the government expects.
Ms Cheyne was due to tell a Music ACT event on Tuesday night the further changes would be made in July 2024 because the government would need to amend legislation.
"First, we want venues to be able to take advantage of opportunities that special events provide, with an easier avenue to open later for opportunities, like a headline artist, or a wedding," she was due to say.
"So, all licensed venues will be able to apply for up to 10 extended trading authorisations in any 12-month period. This is free.
"Access Canberra will have power to declare a special event, like the Matilda's semi-final, which automatically provides for extended trading hours for licensed venues covered by the declaration. This is in addition to the 10 extended trading authorisations."
Ms Cheyne said the changes would encourage new businesses to enter the night-time market.
"By reducing the administrative burden, businesses will have more time to do what they do best - service the Canberra community and create more of a buzz around the city," she said in a statement.
Ms Cheyne was expected to tell the Music ACT awards the government would soon open consultation on a new model for noise complaint handling in the city centre and future entertainment precincts across Canberra.
"We're all sick of consultation, but we are almost there. ... Shortly, we'll be talking to you, other businesses and the community about the specific noise settings we're considering to support nightlife in this precinct - including the way noise complaints are handled," she was due to say.
MORE A.C.T. POLITICS NEWS:
Ms Cheyne was due to say it was important to get the first city centre entertainment precinct right so that it could serve as a template for future precincts across the capital.
"We all know the best nightlife is a safe nightlife. We're doing a vulnerability assessment and getting an independent expert on night-time economy safety to review our safety at night," she was expected to say.
The co-owners of Herbert's at Evatt, a small licensed venue, welcomed the changes that would support their summer trading.
"This is an absolute game changer for small local venues like ours. At Herbert's we proudly host local artists and musicians. We are so pleased that venues like ours are recognised and encouraged to continue this through meaningful and tangible support like fee reductions," co-owners Kristin and Dino Martiniello said.