The key steps involved in supporting communities to participate in liquor licensing processes are provided below as a useful starting point for developing your Community Action Plan (CAP) and informing your approach. These steps provide an indicative guide; it is important to tailor your approach to your local community.
Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) may object to a liquor licensing application in a number of ways, such as lodging a petition with their partners, encouraging and assisting local residents to submit their own objections (either individually or through a petition), or working more broadly in the community to raise awareness of alcohol harms and the liquor licensing process.
LDATs can find out about new liquor licence applications through the OLGR, which lists all licence applications currently advertised for public comment and the closing date for objections.
Only basic information is provided in the public register. You may be directed to contact the applicant for further detail. The detailed liquor licence application is not available to the public. 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 and council, may be in a position where their organisation must be notified about new applications. (This can be part of the application requirement to demonstrate that there has been community consultation.)
To successfully object 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 objection 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 are able to 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 objection. 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 objections under the Liquor Act 1992:
Additional data to help build a community profile and support your liquor licence objection is outlined in Table 2.
Table 2: Evidence to support liquor licensing objections
|Data||What it is||Why it is relevant|
|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 Queensland and national average
• How the number of licensed premises has changed over time.
You can pay to access outlet density data through the OLGR website (cost also includes trading hour exemption data). 
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 only permits alcohol sales during certain hours. Ordinary trading hours are from 10am to 12 midnight. Some licence applications seek to extend ordinary trading hours beyond midnight.
Some days have special restrictions on hours of sale, such as Anzac Day, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
You can pay to access trading hour exemption data through the OLGR website (cost also includes density data). 
If your community has a number of late-trading venues, adding another — either by extending the hours of a current venue, or licensing a new one — could increase harms.
If your community does not have a number of late-trading venues, you may still be concerned about noise, litter, drink-driving, intoxicated behaviour, and violence that can be associated with late trading.
Socio-economic indexes for areas (SEIFA) are produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). They map relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage.
For LDATs seeking more information, the ABS have produced a number of resources to explain how to use the indexes. You might want to start with the SEIFA basics  or the video tutorial introducing SEIFA. 
Communities with a lower socio-economic status experience more alcohol-related harms than more advantaged communities.
If your community’s SEIFA is low it can help you demonstrate that your community is at higher risk of alcohol-related harms.
|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 profile 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. 
|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.
If your community is experiencing high rates of alcohol-related violence this is an important point to make in your objection.
However, caution should be taken in relying too heavily on ‘alcohol-related’ crimes. This is because rates are dependent on the police at the time recording such information. If it is available, crimes such as assaults 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 use.
You could also consider the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) data on alcohol harms,  including health outcomes. The AIHW’s report on the impact of alcohol on Australia’s burden of disease and injury may also be relevant. 
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 on.
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 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 OLGR takes into consideration whether granting the licence will increase local property damage and decrease the overall amenity of the area.
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 those problems.
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 objections may be seen by decision-makers as an indicator of social impact and increase the influence on decisions. Therefore, when your LDAT lodges an objection to a licence, it is worthwhile encouraging community objections and assisting community partners and local residents to submit their own objections to that same licence.
LDATs may raise local awareness and engage the community in a number of different ways, including:
When formulating your response, focus on the following:
All liquor licence objections must be in writing and clearly state the reasons for the objection, 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 objection. Objections should also be put together in consultation with the community and partner organisations.
Valid reasons to object to a liquor licence application include:
Liquor Act 1992
The details of the Liquor Act 1992 are important, because they indicate what the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation will consider when they are deciding about a licence and what kinds of objections are relevant.
The main purposes of this Act are –
a) To regulate the liquor industry and areas near licensed premises, in a way which is:
i) Minimising harm and the potential for harm, from alcohol abuse and misuse and associated violence. Examples include:
ii) Minimising adverse effects on the health or safety of members of the public; and
iii) Minimising adverse effects on the amenity of the community.
The Act also states the following as relevant when considering a licence:
Whether any of the following has happened, and the likelihood of any of the following happening, in relation to the behaviour of persons in or near the relevant premises –
The Act also states conditions that can be placed on a licence, such as:
Objections can be lodged as an individual or as a group (petition). To lodge an objection, the objector must:
All objections must be lodged with the relevant regional office that is noted in the liquor licence application. Contact details for OGLR regional offices
When a decision to grant or refuse an application is made, all parties including objectors are informed of the outcome by the OLGR. If the objection was lodged in the form of a petition, only the petition sponsor will be notified (it will then be up to them to notify other signatories to their petition).
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. Depending on the outcome, you may wish to appeal the decision. An objector may appeal the outcome within 28 days of the decision being made.