Community participation in liquor licensing refers to the involvement of local communities in liquor licensing processes. Specifically, it concerns how communities can influence decision-making and make an objection in response to a liquor licence application.
The involvement of community voices in the liquor licensing process is provided for by the Liquor Licensing Act 1990, which lets the community object (called a ‘representation’) to proposed licences and ask that the licence either not be granted, or granted with certain conditions placed on it.
Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1990, all communities have the opportunity to participate in liquor licensing processes.
There is strong international and Australian evidence linking the availability of alcohol with levels of alcohol consumption, and associated harms from alcohol., , ,  The ‘availability of alcohol’ refers to the density of bottles shops and drinking venues, and their trading hours, in a local area.
Regulating the availability of alcohol through mechanisms like harm minimisation-focused liquor licensing can help reduce harms from alcohol.
The influence of representations in liquor licensing decision-making is complex. A community representation is not a veto. Community representations to liquor licensing applications are one of several considerations taken into account by decision-makers.
Although it is difficult to say what weight is given to community representations, and how representations influence decision-making, we know that action to prevent alcohol harms is more effective when community members and partners work together.
Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) are well placed to respond to potentially harmful liquor licence applications and ensure that community voices are heard in the process. Community participation in liquor licensing may be more effective when your LDAT’s representation is further supported by a number of independent individual representations from other community members. The number of representations may be seen by decision-makers as an indicator of the negative social impact granting the licence may have.