Tag Archives: government

Break Through the Red Tape

The first rule of food production and service is safety.

It is an issue that is treated seriously and severely in Australia, with recalls, fines and even heavier penalties handed out when the standards are breached.

This can be a lot to take on board for businesses, with governing bodies existing at all three tiers of government.

This article aims to cut through the red tape so you can ensure you are properly protected.

Food safety standards in Australia

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is the governing body for food and beverage safety guidelines in our country.

FSANZ covers food safety programs, practices and general requirements, premises and equipment, and programs for food service to vulnerable persons.

The guidelines for the ‘Food Safety Practices and General Requirements’ and ‘Food Premises and Equipment’ sections are mandatory for all food businesses. These guidelines can all be read in the Safe Food Australia document, which is currently under review.

It is also important to note that charity and community groups, temporary events and home-based businesses are exempt from some of these guidelines, so it’s important for them to check with their local enforcement agency before serving customers.

But while this is the blanket body across the nation, it is important to note that states and territories have their own governing bodies and guidelines as well.

Keep up to date what with the legalities in running a hospitality business

 

How it varies from state to state

ACT

Canberra is subject to the federal FSANZ guidelines.

New South Wales

There are two acts of legislation to consider here, the Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2015.

The Food Act 2003 (NSW) enforces FSANZ guidelines and then designs, and monitors food safety schemes under the Food Regulation 2015 for the higher risk industries.

Northern Territory

Like the ACT, the NT operates under FSANZ guidelines.

Queensland

Safe Food Queensland manages operational aspects, and it is important to familiarise yourself with the Food Act 2006, the Food Regulation 2006, the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 and the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014. Also check with local governments, which may have their own food safety regulations.

South Australia

The Food Safety and Nutrition Branch (FSNB) of South Australia Health is the governing body for guidelines here. It operates under two acts of legislation: the Food Act 2001 (SA) and the Food Regulations 2002, as well as FSANZ. FSNB works in tandem with other government agencies and local governments to ensure maximum safety.

Tasmania

The guidelines on the Apple Isle are perhaps the most stringent in the country, with a clear mandate to not only ensure safety but protect the state’s reputation. A raft of legislation needs to be considered here, including; The Primary Produce Safety Act 2011, Primary Produce Safety (Egg) Regulations 2014, and Primary Produce Safety (Meat and Poultry) Regulations 2014. Guidelines for dairy, seafood, and seed sprouts also need to be recognised.

Victoria

The Food Act 1984 provides the regulatory framework in Victoria. Health Victoria works with Federal and local governments to ensure consistency across the board.

Western Australia

Out west, the State Government boasts that they have the most comprehensive food safety legislation in the country, under the Food Act 2008. It covers 19 different issues for consumers and many, many topics for businesses covered under seven banners. Heavy reading, but as close to watertight as you can get in this country.

Where businesses have fallen afoul of the guidelines

The legislated rules for food safety are more than just guidelines—they carry heavy penalties if not followed.

Brisbane restaurant West End Garden was slugged with a $37,500 fine in August last year for multiple breaches.

Produce is also vulnerable, with 80 cases of salmonella in 2016 linked to the consumption of rockmelons.

There were also fears of a national shortage of garlic bread early this year after a recall of 11 of George Weston Foods products was issued.

In addition to these instances, bread rolls and mango drinks have also been recalled from supermarket shelves in recent years.

FSANZ lists the problems that can cause contamination as microbial contamination, labeling errors, foreign matter, chemical or other contaminants, undeclared allergens, biotoxins and other faults.

It definitely pays to be vigilant about food safety legislation.

About the Author

Josh Alston is a journalist, editor and copywriter who has worked for several daily, community and regional newspapers across the Queensland seaboard for 12 years. In this time he has covered news, sport and community issues and has been published in major daily newspapers and nationally online for breaking news. Josh presently works as a freelance reporter writing for clients including the Victorian Government, AGL Energy and a host of others.

 

How 457 Visa Axing will Impact the Hospitality Industry

The 457 visa is no more. The Federal Government has brought the axe down on the controversial work visa for overseas visitors in Australia.

In its place will be a new two-tiered visa program, which will come saddled with higher restrictions and greater skills tests for migrant or travelling workers.

But what does this mean for the hospitality industry?

Of the 97,766 primary 457 visa holders in Australia last year, 15,260 worked in the accommodation and food services sectors alone, which means this news is going to have major ripple effects throughout the industry.

Food and beverage

There is already a shortfall of workers for jobs in the food industry, and that isn’t likely to get better anytime soon.

Industry body Restaurant and Catering Australia predicts that 160,000 jobs may go unfilled by 2020, with Restaurant and Catering SA deputy chief Sally Neville saying this shortfall would need to be met by overseas workers.

“Given we do not have adequate numbers in training, it’s clear that the industry will need to rely more on immigration to fill jobs,” she said.

Neville said that regional areas of Australia were already finding it more difficult to find workers than businesses in the urban regions.

“They just don’t have the steady stream of travellers or uni students to plug the shortfall,” she said.

Accommodation

Despite the accommodation industry’s heavy reliance on workers on a 457 visa, the Australian Hotels Association remains optimistic.

A spokesman said the changes presented an opportunity to leverage a more targeted approach towards getting migrant workers into hotel jobs.

“We will be happy to work with the Federal Government to ensure that their objective of growing local employment is met, while also encouraging growth in the hospitality sector through carefully-targeted temporary skilled worker placements, particularly to support regional Australia,” he said.

457 Visa and how its impacting the hospitality industry

Travel and tourism

Regional tourism operators stand to be the most affected by this proposed change to the visa scheme, with 457 employees filling many roles they struggle to find locals willing to take on.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) chair Martin Ferguson said they would be pushing the government to ensure training is supplied for locals to fill the roles that could potentially be vacated by those previously on 457 visas.

“Once we have seen the full content of the government’s changes we will be making representations to relevant ministers to ensure that our industry—one of the country’s largest growth industries—receives the support it requires over the next five years,” he said.

“We are also seeking greater investment in training and development of local residents to ensure that we can offer world-class service standards to complement the massive transformation of the industry’s physical product.”
Related Article:

What Customer Experience do you Want to Deliver?

About the Author

Josh Alston is a versatile and experienced journalist, covering rounds for daily, regional and community newspapers that include; news, sport, politics, community issues and much more. In 12 years working as a journalist and editor, Mr Alston has covered major events like Federal elections, budgets, sporting events such as State of Origin and covered the economic and physical growth of Queensland. Today, Mr Alston is the founder of Art of Writing PR, generating topical and engaging copy for his clients to enhance their online presence and build their brands.

Licensed To Serve

Licensed pubs clubs small bars

Starting up a new business is a monumental undertaking. Working out which licences you need to open the doors and what you’ve got to do to stay on top is tedious but critical. Use this food and beverage licence checklist to make sure you’re all geared up to get serving.

What type of licence is needed?

The first thing you need to do is to work out what type of licence you want to apply for. If you are serving alcohol, licences vary across restaurants, hotels, general bars, small bars, packaged liquor (like a bottle shop or online sales) and nightclubs—to name a few. But there’s also limited licences for single functions or special events. Doing your research well in advance will help you pinpoint exactly which one will cover you across the board.

There are also times when a liquor licence is not required, such as the exemption for a non-profit organisation. In some cases, bed and breakfast businesses may also be exempt.

Where to start?

Each licence comes with its own limitations, requirements and applied laws that vary from state to state.

Checking the Australian Business Licence and Information Service is a good first step. This website is part of the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, and can give advice on what government licences or registrations apply to your proposed business. It’s also a great indication of the state, territory, local and Australian government-imposed laws relevant to your business. To put it all into place, this guide also gives you access to the various forms and resources required.

Don’t make it hard on yourself.  Talk to similar businesses in your area as well, and even discuss licences with your suppliers.

What you need to know to run a licensed venue

 

Undertake licensee training

Some states expect all licensee applicants to undertake training before a licence will be considered. Training covers the legislative environment for liquor licensees, understanding your licence and best practice. For example, if you are in Victoria, all individuals, partners and at least one director, must undertake Licensees’ First Step Course. To find out more about this step, details about Queensland’s mandatory Responsible Management of Licensed Venues training can be found here.

Check with your local government

While the relevant authorities regulate location, local governments often have an input. It’s worth checking with the relevant body or council to see if there is a particular party in control of the licences you need.

Consult with your local community

As a potential licence holder, it is your responsibility to talk to local community members about any concerns people have with your application and proposed plans. This particularly applies to liquor licensing, but it’s a good rule of thumb for any application. Community support will make obtaining a licence an easier process if you can acknowledge and mitigate any potential issues or impact on the local community.

Prepare a Community Impact Statement (CIS)

Many state authorities require the submission of a CIS with a licensing application. Authorities will consider the general well-being of the greater community and the social impact of approval of a license in that location. Aspects considered include the type of licensed premises applied for, its scale, size, layout and capacity, the trading hours proposed, and its location.  

If there are any specific measures you are planning on undertaking to reduce potential social issues, such as a Security Management Plan, this is the place to point that out.

Train all staff

When it comes to liquor licensing, ensure staff are familiar with the Act and laws relevant to the service of alcohol in that state, including when they can serve alcohol, to whom and if food must also be consumed. Since it is a crime in most states now to serve alcohol to intoxicated people, it is imperative staff are trained in strategies to overcome this issue.

Keep your licence handy

Once any licence has been granted, make sure it is always on hand for immediate inspection by the relevant agency. There is nothing worse than scrambling for paperwork in the middle of service, when you could just point to the certificate on your storeroom wall.  

Stay on top of changing laws

Finally, once you are licensed to serve, make sure you stay that way.  Follow regulations and remember that laws are often reviewed— keep up to date with training and regularly check your local state licensing authority’s website.

About the Author

Lana de Kort is a published author and business writer with over 20 years experience working with industry, commerce and community.  In 2014 she co-founded a network of over 21 writers across Australia.