Planning - liquor licensing ACT

It is important that LDATs understand the ACT’s liquor licensing laws and how the community can participate in the liquor licensing process.

Information about liquor licensing in the Australian Capital Territory

Below is an overview of the ACT liquor licensing system, the different types of liquor licenses and permits, and the liquor licence application process. Links to more detailed information are provided throughout. Further information on how the community can participate in liquor licensing processes and object to liquor licence applications is outlined in Map your steps.

The ACT liquor licensing system

In Australia, the liquor licensing process varies by state and territory because of the differing legislation. In the ACT:

  • The Liquor Act 2010 and the Liquor Amendment Bill 2017 control the sale and supply of alcohol
  • Access Canberra falls under the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate responsible for regulating the liquor and gaming industries.

The different types of liquor licences and permits

A liquor licence or permit states where and when alcohol can be served. Different licences and permits are available to suit different businesses or community organisations (e.g. bars, nightclubs, commercial hotels, community clubs, etc.). In addition to new liquor licences, permits and licence variations (amendments) are available for existing liquor licensees that want to change or extend the conditions of their licence.

The liquor licence application process


How the community can find out about new licence applications is covered in Section 3.a.

Liquor licence applications and amendments are submitted to Access Canberra. Once accepted, a public consultation notice is published containing details of the location of the venue and its proposed trading hours, but the full liquor licence application is not publicly available.

Liquor licence applications to Access Canberra are accompanied by:

  • a Risk-Assessment Management Plan (RAMP). A RAMP is a document that describes a liquor licensee's management practices and procedures at their licensed premises. The purpose of a RAMP is to outline how a licensee will manage their premises to minimise harm caused by alcohol use. This is a requirement of the Liquor Regulation 2010. RAMPs are not publicly available.


Once liquor licence application forms have been successfully lodged, Access Canberra requires that signage is placed at the proposed premises, or at the premises applying for an amendment to their licence, for 30 days and that public notice of the application or amendment is published on the ACT Open Government website. This advertising is to notify the local community about the application.

Approval process

Access Canberra grants a licence based on the suitability of:

  • the proposed licensee
  • close associates
  • influential people
  • people in the day to day control of the premises
  • the premises itself.

Details about ‘suitability’ can be found under Divisions 4.1 and 4.2 of the Liquor Act 2010.

Public objections

Under Section 9 of the Liquor Act 2010 and Section 9 of Liquor Regulation 2010, applications for new liquor licences, as well as variations to existing liquor licences, are required to be advertised so the public is aware. The signage must include a statement that representations (comment/objection) can be made to the application.

The objections process is designed so the general public, nearby businesses, police and council can have their say on liquor licence applications that may impact the local area and affect the lives of people living or working near the licensed premises.

Find more more information on liquor licences.

Setting your objectives

Setting objectives for your Community Action Plan activity is an important part of your LDAT planning process.

Some example objectives for community participation in liquor licensing are provided below.

Groups can develop their own objectives, although you may find these a useful starting point.

  • Engage with 'x number' new partners to mobilize community groups to participate in objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications
  • Establish 'x number' new partnerships with community groups in the next 12 months to support participation in liquor licensing activities
  • Increase community awareness of alcohol-related harms by 'x%' within the next 12 months
  • Increase community awareness of the impact that alcohol availability has on alcohol-related harm on the community by 'x%'
  • Increase community awareness by 'x%' of their ability to contribute in liquor licensing decisions
  • Increase community awareness of the liquor licensing process and how the community can participate in this process by 'x%' within the next 12 months
  • Improve community participation in the liquor licensing process by 'x%' within the next 12 months
  • Support 'x number' community groups to submit objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications within the liquor licensing time frames in the 'x name' community.

Working with community partners

LDATs have a key role in building relationships in the community and finding allies that will support action to reduce the harm caused by alcohol in the community. Key community partners include the local council and police. The local council and police may also make a representation about a new liquor licence, and may be able to assist you with gathering some of the data about your local area (e.g. alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour, and property damage).

It is important for LDATs to work with partners who represent the population groups in their communities. Consider what population groups are in your community and who may be at risk of experiencing alcohol-related harms – you can partner with individuals and organisations who represent these groups. For example, if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented in your community, partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s organisations to make sure local action is responsive to local needs and representative of the community.

Partners may include:

  • local council
  • police
  • local health organisations
  • religious organisations
  • schools
  • school-parent committees
  • various community groups (e.g. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, women’s, migrant and/or refugee, or groups of young people)
  • local businesses
  • Rotary and Lions Clubs.

Determine resources required

Below is an indicative list of resources required for LDATs when facilitating community participation in liquor licensing. The resources you may need will depend on a number of variables, such as the specifics of the licence application, why you’re objecting to it, and your desired outcomes. Local Drug Action Teams may be able to provide some of these resources or work with partners who can provide additional support.

  • Basic administrative tools, including stationery, office supplies, phones, printing, a workspace for administrative duties.
  • Skilled personnel to coordinate the objection process, including collecting local evidence and formulating a response.
  • Knowledge/materials to engage community members and work in partnership with local organisations.
  • Venue for meetings – this may include in-kind use of a meeting room from a partner organisation including a local library, schools, or community halls (your local council will have a list of available places for community use). It is not appropriate for meetings to be held in people’s homes.
  • Funds for catering at events and meetings.

Consider measures of success

While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures of success for your activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your activity linking your success measures to your objectives (see Measure your success).

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