Planning - Liquor Licensing NSW

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

What follows is an overview of the New South Wales (NSW) 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 this toolkit. Further information on how the community can participate in liquor licensing processes and object to liquor licence applications is outlined in Map your steps.

Critical considerations

The NSW liquor licensing system

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

  • The Liquor Act 2007 controls the sale and supply of alcohol
  • Liquor and Gaming NSW (L&G NSW) is a branch of the NSW Department of Industry, and is 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. clubs, restaurants, packaged liquor, etc.).

In addition to new liquor licences, licence variations are available for existing liquor licensees that want to change or extend the conditions of their licence.

Details about liquor licences for operating a business.

The liquor licence application process: New applications

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

Liquor licence applications are submitted to L&G NSW.

Community impact statement

Most liquor licence applicants are required to complete a community impact statement (CIS) as part of their case for the application. The CIS must be completed and submitted alongside the liquor licence application. Police and council must be consulted as part of the CIS. Depending on the specifics of the application, other stakeholders, such as neighbouring premises, may also need to be consulted.


Once a liquor licence application has been lodged, L&G NSW requires most applicants to erect signage at the proposed premises to notify the local community of the application. Most applications are also required to be advertised on the L&G NSW online noticeboard.

Note: only a notice of application is provided, not the licence application itself.

Approval process

L&G NSW considers a number of issues when deciding to grant a licence in accordance with the Liquor Act 2007, including a consideration of social impact.1

Public submissions

Under the Liquor Act 2007, the public has the right to object to a license application.

L&G NSW provides a template to assist public submissions to be made in relation to a liquor licence application – although there is no requirement that community members use this community form when making a submission.

Set 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 (xx number) new partners to mobilize community groups to participate in objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications
  • Establish (xx 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 (xx percent) within the next 12 months
  • Increase community awareness of the impact that alcohol availability has on alcohol-related harm on the community by (xx percent)
  • Increase community awareness by (xx percent) 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 (xx percent) within the next 12 months
  • Improve community participation in the liquor licensing process by (xx percent) within the next 12 months
  • Support (insert number) community groups to submit objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications within the liquor licensing time frames in the (xx 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 submission 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).

Liquor accords in New South Wales are voluntary associations of liquor industry and community stakeholders. Depending on the area in question, they may involve liquor licensees, police, community members or organisations, and council. They typically seek to address anti-social behaviour and other problems arising from alcohol. Liquor accords may be more or less effective depending on the partners involved, the region in question, and the objectives of the accord. The Liquor Accords Australia website offers more detail and a list of active accords in New South Wales.2

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
  • liquor accords

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 submission 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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