If you intend to serve alcohol on your premises in New South Wales, you will need to obtain one of the seven liquor licences available. Of the seven, the liquor licence pertinent to club owners is the club licence. The club licence authorises the licensee to sell liquor to club members (or a guest of a member) for consumption on or away from the licensed premises. We set out below answers to some frequently asked questions for those considering starting, or taking over, an existing club.

1. What are the Conditions Attached to Club Licences?

Liquor and Gaming NSW will only grant a club licence to a club. A club must meet the requirements set out in the Registered Clubs Act 1976 (NSW). These are fairly extensive and include strict rules about the membership and objects of the club as well as ongoing reporting requirements. If a club owns many different premises, Liquor & Gaming NSW will require a separate licence for each location.

A club must also comply with the following conditions:

1. Clubs with a club licence cannot advance cash. So, a club cannot give its members drinks on credit as it would probably be considered equivalent to a cash advance. However, it does not prevent the provision of cash machines.

2. A club with a club licence is not permitted to own or have an interest in a hotel. Hotels are subject to a different licence altogether. The exception is for clubs that held such an interest before the restriction began in 2002.

3. The club will need to comply with ongoing requirements around signage and responsible service of alcohol.

2. What are the Trading Hours for Clubs with a Club Licence?

The standard trading hours for any liquor licence are 5 am to midnight Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 10 pm on Sundays. This rule is unless the club has obtained an extended trading authorisation. For clubs, the exceptions are:

  • Takeaway sales must stop at 10 pm;
  • No takeaway sales on Good Friday or Christmas day; and
  • New Year’s Eve until 2 am on the next day (or later if the club’s licence permits).

However, a licence may be made subject to specific conditions that vary the hours above.

3. How Do I Apply for a Liquor Licence?

The Liquor & Gaming NSW authority regulates liquor sale, and you can apply for a liquor licence on their website. This application is through the NSW OneGov system with reduced fees if you apply online rather than in paper form.

However, before you apply for a club licence, you should:

  • Consider whether you need any development consent or other approval from the local council;
  • Check whether your entity/organisation is a club at all; and
  • Check what regulations it will need to satisfy or which registrations it may require.

You need to have completed a Community Impact Statement at least 30 days before lodging your application. For a club licence, you require the more extensive Category B Community Impact Statement. The statement requires you to:

  • Consider in detail the impact of your proposed licence for the community around the club;
  • Consult meaningfully with the community around the club; and
  • Address the community’s concerns or at least have made reasonable attempts to do so.

Within two days of submitting your application, you need to undertake community consultation which involves:

  • Informing the police;
  • Notifying the local council;
  • Alerting all neighbours; and
  • Attaching a site notice to the premises until a decision is made about the application.

If you apply online, some of these may be done automatically for you as part of your application.

The application is then posted on the online liquor application noticeboard for 30 days to allow the general public to comment.

4. How Much Does a Liquor Licence Cost?

Currently, the application fee is $500. There are also annual licence fees to pay. The base fee is currently $510, but there are significant loadings for extended hours and potential additions for various risk factors.

For example, if your licence allows you to stay open until 1:30am and serve liquor to any member, guest or patron you would incur a risk loading of $2,500 giving a total licence fee of $3,100.

5. How Long Does it Take Authorities to Determine Whether My Application Has Been Successful?

The Independent Liquor and Gaming authority will usually determine an application within four months of the end of the public advertising period.

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Have any questions about making a club licence application? Are you considering making an application yourself? Get in touch with our liquor licensing team on 1300 544 755.

Daniel Ah-Sun

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