Map your steps - liquor licensing NSW
Your activity may include some or all steps below, depending on the capacity of the LDAT and partner community organisations.
The key steps involved in supporting communities to participate in liquor licensing processes are provided below as a useful starting point for developing your liquor licensing activity and informing your approach.
These steps provide an indicative guide only; it is important to tailor your approach to your local community.
Local Drug Action Teams may address liquor licensing in a number of ways, such as:
- making a submission
- encouraging and assisting local residents to make their own submissions
- or working more broadly in the community to raise awareness of alcohol harms and the liquor licensing process.
Find out about new liquor licence applications
LDATs can find out about new liquor licence applications through the Liquor and Gaming NSW online noticeboard.
Submissions on licence applications must be made within 30 days of the application being made to L&G NSW. The closing date for submissions will be listed on the notice of application, and on the online noticeboard.
LDATs may wish to set up a system to monitor for new liquor licensing applications. Consider dividing up the work of monitoring among partner organisations in your LDAT. Some partners, such as police, may be in a position where their organisation must be notified about new applications.
Collect evidence to support your liquor licence submission
It is important to collect evidence to support your liquor licence submission.
To successfully make a submission to a liquor licence, you must be able to provide evidence that links an individual liquor licence to alcohol-related harms in your community.
As you collect evidence to support your liquor licence submission you will be building a profile of your community. LDATs can create local community profiles in advance, so they are ready to respond to potentially problematic licence applications as they arise. Being proactive and collecting evidence early is recommended so communities can make strong submissions, particularly when timeframes for community participation are short.
It is important to draw on expert opinion and research to support your liquor licence submission. You may wish to divide responsibility for collecting evidence with your partners. Some partners may be well placed to collect certain types of data.
Local data on the following areas can be useful as they are relevant to submissions under the Liquor Act 2007:
- property damage
- safety of the general public
- pleasantness and attractiveness of the area (amenity).
Additional data to help build a community profile and support your liquor licence submission is outlined below.
Liquor outlet density
Liquor outlet density data provides information on:
- the number of licensed premises in your Local Government Area (LGA)
- the number of licensed premises in your LGA compared with other LGAs, including the NSW and national averages
- how the number of licensed premises has changed over time.
A liquor licence premises list is available from L&G NSW for a fee.
If your community already has a high density of liquor outlets, especially in comparison to other LGAs, it will support your argument that adding another will increase harms from alcohol.
If your liquor outlet density has increased rapidly, you can argue that there has been an introduction of many new outlets and the impact of the outlets on the community needs to be determined before introducing another.
A liquor licence permits alcohol sales during certain hours. Ordinary trading hours are Monday – Saturday 5am – midnight and Sunday 10am – 10pm.
Some days are a special case for hours of sale, such as Anzac Day and Christmas Day.
Licence applicants can apply to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority for extended trading hours.
A trading hour exemption list is available from L&G NSW for a fee.
If your community has many late-trading venues, adding another — either by extending the hours of a current venue, or licensing a new venue — could increase harms.
If your community does not have many late-trading venues, you may still be concerned about noise, litter, drink-driving, intoxicated behaviour, and violence that can be associated with late trading.
Community profiles and data
There are a number of existing sources of information that can inform your community profile.
Your local council should have a profile of your area, which they may share with you.
The ABS has also put together community profiles that include data such as educational attainment and population demographics.
You can download a community profile3 for your LGA and postal area from the ABS website.Harms from alcohol vary between communities for many complex and interconnected reasons.
Communities can be at increased risk of harms if they have a low educational attainment, limited employment opportunities, and lower relative socio-economic status.4
Rates of violence
Rates of alcohol-related violence include assaults and family violence. Ideally these rates would be compared over time and between areas.
Your local police or council may have data on the rates of alcohol-related violence.
The NSW Justice Department’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) crime mapping tool allows you to view crime data for your LGA.5 This map can be tailored to track only alcohol-related crime data, such as assaults and domestic violence.
You may find the video explaining how to use BOCSAR helpful. 6
If your community has over 3,000 residents you can also rank your LGA for specific offence types, such as alcohol-related domestic violence.7 If your community is experiencing high rates of alcohol-related violence this is an important point to raise in your submission.
The BOCSAR data makes explicit the amount of crime that is alcohol-related.
However, caution should be taken in relying too heavily on ‘alcohol-related’ crimes, as this is dependent on the accuracy of police reports in recording this information. If it is available, crimes such as assault and family violence tend to be under-reported.
Data on alcohol-attributable hospitalisations and deaths in your LGA may be helpful to your submission. Consider approaching your local health care providers, such as hospitals, to find out if they collect data you can incorporate.
You could also consider the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) data on alcohol harms, including health outcomes.8 The AIHW’s report on the impact of alcohol on Australia’s burden of disease and injury may also be relevant.9
You may also consider approaching treatment services that help people address their alcohol dependency.Current rates of alcohol-attributable health issues in your community may be taken into consideration when the licence is being decided.
It can support the argument that increasing the availability of alcohol, either by increasing liquor outlet density or by extending venue trading hours, may increase the existing burden of alcohol-attributable health issues.
Property damage refers to both public property (such as stolen or damaged street signs, or damaged nature strips) and private property (such as broken shopfront windows).
Your local council, police, local business association, or residents in the entertainment precinct may be able to provide this data. It may also be useful to ask local businesses in the entertainment precinct/other areas with a high concentration of liquor outlets what levels of damage and litter they must deal with after a Friday or Saturday night (e.g. vomit, smashed windows, noise, disruption etc.).The Liquor Act 2007 requires consideration of whether granting a licence will negatively impact the community. An increase to local property damage and decrease to the overall amenity of the area are considered negative impacts.
If there are already high rates of property damage, or an overall decrease in amenity due to liquor outlets and their patrons’ behaviour, you can argue on those grounds that granting or extending licences will increase these problems.
Get the community involved
LDATs have an opportunity to involve the community in liquor licensing processes. This may involve raising awareness in the community about why licensing matters, how the community can get involved in the process, and gathering local feedback and needs. For example, as price also affects alcohol consumption levels, community members may be particularly concerned about bulk-purchase, barn style bottle shops opening in their neighbourhood, heavily discounted take-away liquor promotions, and irresponsible ‘happy hour’ or other cheap drink promotions at drinking venues.
The number of submissions may be seen by decision-makers as an indicator of social impact and increase the influence on decisions. Therefore, when your LDAT makes a submission to a licence, it is worthwhile encouraging community members to also make a representation and assisting community partners and local residents to submit their own representations on that same licence.
LDATs may raise local awareness and engage the community in a number of different ways, including:
- speak to the local paper
- hold a community meeting
- create a Facebook group/discussion
- form a coalition with local organisations.
Formulate your response
When formulating your response, focus on the following:
- Community concerns. You need to clearly articulate the community's concerns about how the new licence would affect the community. Consider how you can demonstrate the validity of those concerns with the data you have. Link your argument to the Liquor Act 2007 grounds for making a submission. Draw on expert opinion and research when possible. Consider the concerns of your LDAT, community members and partner organisations.
- The outcome you are seeking. Depending on the specific licence application you may be seeking different outcomes. Perhaps you want restrictions such as a cap on trading hours, a ban on late-night trading, and certain types of drink restrictions (like no shots or doubles) or you may not want the licence granted at all. You may be more likely to get restrictions placed on a licence than to have the licence denied.
All submissions on a liquor licence must be in writing and clearly state the reasons for the submission, including evidence to support those reasons.
Community concerns, the outcome you are seeking, and the data about your community, should guide how you put together your submission. Submissions should also be put together in consultation with the community and partner organisations.
You may choose to use the submission template, but there is no legal requirement for you to do so. The template can be found on the L&G NSW website.
Liquor Act 2007
The details of the Liquor Act 2007 are important because they indicate what will be considered when the licence is being determined, and therefore what kinds of submissions are relevant.
1) The objects of this Act are:
- to regulate and control the sale, supply and consumption of liquor in a way that is consistent with the expectations, needs and aspirations of the community
- to facilitate the balanced development, in the public interest, of the liquor industry, through a flexible and practical regulatory system with minimal formality and technicality
- to contribute to the responsible development of related industries such as the live music, entertainment, tourism and hospitality industries.
2) In order to secure the objects of this Act, each person who exercises functions under this Act (including a licensee) is required to have due regard to the following:
- the need to minimise harm associated with use of liquor (including harm arising from violence and other anti-social behaviour)
- the need to encourage responsible attitudes and practices towards the promotion, sale, supply, service and consumption of liquor
- the need to ensure that the sale, supply and consumption of liquor contributes to, and does not detract from, the amenity of community life.
Lodge your submission
Submissions must be lodged before the closing date listed on the application. You can lodge your submission via:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: Liquor and Gaming NSW, GPO Box 7060, Sydney, NSW, 2001
- In person: 323 Castlereagh Street, Level 6, Haymarket, NSW, 2000
If L&G NSW requires additional information you will be contacted.
There may be a chance to appeal a decision you don’t agree with. However, the appeals process is limited and complicated and it varies greatly depending on the specific circumstances.
Having a follow up debrief with partners provides a good opportunity to keep a sense of cohesion and momentum in your group. Discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and improve your planning and strategising for next time.
Measuring success and reporting
Measure the success of your liquor licensing activity:
- Collect measures of success with the community organisations you are engaging with, as well as the community members you have been reaching with your liquor licensing activity.
- Report on your success, acquit your funds and consider other things you can do to support your community (see Measure your success)
- Roche A, Kostadinov V, Fischer J, Nicholas R. 2015. ‘Evidence review: The social determinants of inequalities in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related heath outcomes’. Report for VicHealth.