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If your business in South Australia intends on selling or supplying liquor in any form, you will normally need to apply for a Liquor Licence. Consumer and Business Services is the government body responsible for the sale and supply of liquor under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 in South Australia. 

Which Type of Liquor Licence Do I Need in South Australia?

Determining which licence is right for your business can be confusing. There are currently 11 categories of liquor licences in South Australia. For example, these include:

  • restaurant and catering licences;
  • small venue licenses;
  • general and hotel licences;
  • club licences;
  • on premises licenses;
  • packaged liquor sales licences;
  • liquor production and sales licenses;
  • residential licenses; and
  • wine export licenses. 

You may also be able to apply for short term liquor licences. These are limited, event-specific licences. You may receive one (with event endorsement) for:

  • a single event; or 
  • the duration of 5 years. 

However, your business may be exempt from obtaining a liquor licence if:

  • the alcohol is supplied on premises when providing hairdressing or barber services; or 
  • you are the operator of a B&B style accommodation, and you comply with the relevant requirements. 

You also will not have to apply for a licence where your business sells gift baskets or floral arrangements where, amongst other requirements, the:

  • volume of the alcohol does not exceed 2.25 litres; and 
  • value of the alcohol is not more than 50% of the total sale price of the gift.

How Do I Apply for a Liquor Licence in South Australia?

Once you have decided which licence you would like to apply for, you will need to complete the relevant application. This can be a complex process and you may benefit from legal assistance.

To apply, you will need to obtain and fill out the relevant application carefully and correctly, ensuring all requirements have been satisfied. If you fail to do so, your application may be returned to you for amendment or rejected completely.

In South Australia, the Consumer and Business Services is responsible for liquor regulation and licensing and has stipulated that you must satisfy a number of minimum requirements. Documents you may require along with your application include:

  • a RAMP (your Risk Assessment and Management Plan, outlining management practices and procedures);
  • a reflective CIS (Community Impact Statement);
  • two floor plans of the proposed premises;
  • a copy of your lease agreement and permission from landlord (if you do not own the property) or your certificate of title (if you own the property); and 
  • a capacity assessment from your local council, a private certifier, or a registered architect.

Licensed venues must be personally supervised and managed by a ‘responsible person’ at all times. You will need to apply to the CBS for approval as a responsible person alongside your licence application. The application fee for this approval is $137 and the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner must be satisfied that you are a fit and proper person, taking into account your honesty, integrity and reputation. 

If you are applying for a licence as a partnership, you must include all partners on the application, not just the individual responsible for the application. Likewise, if your business is a company, then the applicant must be the company itself. 

How Much Are Licensing Fees?

Once you are ready to apply for a licence for your craft beer brewery or fine dining restaurant, you should prepare a budget. This is because the application process can be quite expensive.

CBS fees vary depending on the: 

  • nature of your business;
  • trading hours during which you intend to serve or supply alcohol;
  • capacity of the premises; and 
  • required licence. 

As of 28 November 2019, South Australia’s licensing fee structure has changed in accordance with the new categories of licences. As such, increased fees have been introduced. At the time of writing, application fees start at $631. Licences are also subject to a range of ongoing fees, including:

  • annual ‘risk based’ fees up to $8,630, calculated with reference to licence category, trading hours, capacity and location (in some circumstances); and
  • additional fees payable with applications made to vary your existing licence, e.g. in order to increase the area or capacity of the licensed premises.

While there is no fee for reducing the capacity or trading hours of a licenced premises, doing so may affect your base annual fees. 

How Long Will My Application Take to Get Approved?

The CBS may take 6-8 weeks to approve your application. However, this may be longer if you receive objections from the public during the advertisement period. Accordingly, it is essential that you take this approval estimate into consideration when developing your timeline for business development.

Key Takeaways

Establishing your own bar, restaurant, pub or club in South Australia can be a complicated and challenging process. As such, it is essential that you carefully consider which liquor licence you will need and seek assistance where needed. If you need help with your liquor licence application, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

Frequently asked questions

Where do I get a liquor licence in South Australia?

Consumer and Business Services is the government body responsible for the sale and supply of liquor under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 in South Australia. 

What is a short term liquor licence?

Short term liquor licences are limited, event-specific licences. You may receive one (with event endorsement) for a single event or the duration of 5 years. 

How long will my application take to get approved?

Consumer and Business Services may take 6-8 weeks to approve your liquor licence application.

How much is a liquor licence in South Australia?

As of 28 November 2019, South Australia’s licensing fee structure has changed in accordance with the new categories of licences. As such, increased fees have been introduced. At the time of writing, application fees start at $631.

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