Planning - liquor licensing WA
It is important that LDATs understand Western Australia’s liquor licensing laws and how the community can participate in the liquor licensing process.
Information about liquor licensing in Western Australia
Below is an overview of the Western Australian 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 regulatory body responsible for liquor, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSCI), offers a free monthly seminar on "The liquor licensing process for applicants and community". Details are available at Racing, Gaming and Liquor WA
An overview of liquor licensing in Western Australia
In Australia, the liquor licensing process varies by state and territory because of the differing legislation. In Western Australia:
- The Liquor Control Act 1988 controls the sale and supply of alcohol.
- The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSCI) is an agency of the Government of Western Australia responsible for regulating the liquor, gaming and adult entertainment industries.
- The DLGSCI provides a flow-chart of the liquor licence application process.
The different types of liquor
A liquor licence states where and when alcohol can be served. Different licences are available to suit different businesses or community organisations (e.g. bars, nightclubs, commercial hotels, community clubs, etc.).
Licences and permits
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 the different types of licences and permits.
The liquor licence application process
How the community can find out about new licence applications is
covered in Section 3.a.
Liquor licence applications to the DLGSCI are accompanied by a Public Interest Assessment (PIA). A PIA is written by the applicant and provided to the DLGSCI. It provides information on areas including:
- harm and/or health impacts to ‘at-risk’ groups
- social health indicators for the area surrounding the proposed premises
- expected impact on local amenity
- strategies to manage offence, annoyance and disturbance that may result from the premises once operating.
The PIA is available for the public to view alongside the relevant liquor licence application. More information on PIAs:
For most applications, DLGSCI requires signage to be placed at the premises and for the application to be advertised online. This helps to inform the community about the application and provides the opportunity to object or comment on the application. Time frames to object are short, often with only two weeks from the time the application is advertised to when an objection or submission is due.
- More information on advertising liquor licence applications.
DLGSCI grants liquor licences based on whether you are a 'fit and proper' person to hold a liquor licence, and if granting the licence will be in the public interest. Public objections are considered when deciding whether to grant the licence.
Under section 73 of the Liquor Control Act 1988, the public may make an objection to the application. The objections process is designed so the general public, nearby businesses, police, health service providers, other concerned groups and councils 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.
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 '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 object to 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 Western Australia 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 DLGSCI website offers more detail on accords.1
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
- local health organisations
- religious organisations
- 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 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).