Selling or offering alcohol as part of your business can be an excellent opportunity to increase revenue and customer numbers. To do so, you should apply for a liquor licence. If you do not have a licence, you run the risk of receiving fines. This article outlines the process of getting a liquor licence in Western Australia.

Do I Need a Liquor Licence?

Supplying alcohol without an approved licence is an offence in Western Australia. 

However, there are some situations where you may be exempt from needing a liquor licence if you are only supplying a small amount of liquor, including:

Exemption

Explanation

Small Functions

These are small events where the:

  • total number of attendees over the entire course of the function does not exceed 100;
  • service of liquor lasts a maximum of two hours; 
  • serving of liquor is ancillary to the purpose of the function; and
  • function starts after 6 am and finishes before 10 pm on the same day.

Complimentary Supply by Business

Businesses may supply liquor to customers without a licence if it is:

  • free of charge;
  • taking place on the business premises; and
  • ancillary to the purpose of the customer’s attendance at the business (for example, a hair salon offering a customer a complimentary glass of wine).

However, you cannot offer customers more than two standard drinks. 

Small Charter Vehicles

Passengers on vehicles that can carry a maximum of 14 people (excluding the driver) can enjoy an alcoholic beverage without a licence.

Regional Farmers’ Markets

If you sell liquor at a farmer’s market stall, a licence is not required if you sell or supply it:

  • as a free sample for consumption in the immediate vicinity; or
  • up to 2.5 litres per person in sealed containers; or 
  • as an order taken for a future date.

Am I Eligible for a Liquor Licence?

Individuals, companies, associations and groups of people can apply for a liquor licence in Western Australia. However, you may not be eligible to apply if you are:

  • under the age of 18 years;
  • bankrupt or if your company is in receivership or liquidation;
  • under a prison sentence; or
  • disqualified from holding a licence.

What Type of Liquor Licence Do I Need?

There are several different types of liquor licences available in Western Australia, and each varies in its permitted trading hours and how liquor can be sold and supplied. It is important you apply for the correct licence to avoid any unnecessary delays with the process. 

Some of the most common licence types are:

  • hotel;
  • nightclub;
  • liquor store;
  • restaurant;
  • club; and
  • special facility.

Hotels

If you own or run a hotel and provide accommodation, you will need a licence that allows you to sell alcohol for people to drink on and off the premises. Trading hours are typically between 6 am and midnight Monday to Saturday, and between 10 am and midnight on Sundays. 

Nightclubs

Nightclub owners will require a licence to sell alcohol to be consumed on the licensed premises. A nightclub licence is conditional on you selling liquor alongside live entertainment, such as a DJ or performer.

The permitted trading hours for a nightclub are 6 pm to 5 am the following day from Monday to Saturday, and 8 pm to 2 am the following day on Sundays.

Liquor Stores and Online Sales

If you run a bottle store or sell alcohol online, you will need a licence for people to consume alcohol off the premises. This allows people to purchase alcohol to take away and drink in another place. Standard trading hours are between 8 am and 10 pm Monday to Saturday, and between 10 am and 10 pm on Sundays.

Restaurants

Restaurant owners will need a license to sell and supply liquor to customers to consume with their meal. The business’s primary purpose should be to supply meals, rather than alcohol. When advertising your restaurant, you will need to be careful not to use alcohol to attract customers.

Clubs

If you run a sporting, social, political or another type of club, you will need to apply for a club licence to sell liquor to members and guests. Trading hours for clubs will be considered upon application.

Special Facilities 

You will need a special facilities licence to sell alcohol for people to drink on the premises if you run an:

  • amusement venue; 
  • bed and breakfast; 
  • catering facility;
  • sports arena;
  • theatre; or
  • cinema.

Trading hours will be granted on a case by case basis.

If you have recently bought premises with a licence granted to another licensee, you will need to apply for a licence application transfer. If your license is for consuming liquor on the premises, you must also provide customers with drinking water free of charge. 

How Do I Apply for a Liquor Licence?

You can apply for a liquor licence in Western Australia from the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. Once you have completed the applicant details form and application, and paid the relevant fee, you can submit your application online through the website. The requirements of each application and evidence you will need to provide will vary depending on the type of liquor licence you apply for.

The time frame for receiving your liquor licence can vary depending on your application’s details and other external factors, such as council approval. The process can take anywhere between a few weeks up to 18 months, so ensure you apply in plenty of time.

All new applicants must also undertake training to ensure they are competent to supply liquor. You must complete an examination or an approved course in:

  • managing licensed premises; and
  • the responsible service of alcohol.

What Documents Do I Have to Provide?

Each type of licence will have its own requirements. However, there are certain documents that all licence applications require. These include:

  • your application form;
  • the personal particular form for each person involved with the liquor licence;
  • a Public Interest Assessment (this involves proving that your business is aware of the health and social impacts it will have on the community);
  • plans and specifications of the proposed premises;
  • evidence of your exclusive right to occupy premises; and
  • the application fee.

The application fee is not refundable, even if your application is not successful. 

Some licenses also require you to notify your intention to obtain a licence to the local community for a specified period, for example in a newspaper or as a notice on the premises.

Key Takeaways

There are a number of different liquor licenses in Western Australia for different activities. When setting up your business, make sure that you have the correct licence in place before you sell or supply alcohol. If you have any questions about which liquor licence you need for your business, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a liquor licence?

To sell or offer alcohol as part of your business, you should apply for a liquor licence. If you do not have a licence, you run the risk of receiving fines. 

When do I not need a liquor licence?

You will not need a liquor licence for your business if you are running a small function, are offering a complimentary supply of liquor that is under two standard drinks, you run a small charter vehicle, or if you are supplying alcohol at a farmers market.

How do I apply for a liquor licence?

You can apply for a liquor licence in Western Australia from the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. Once you have completed the applicant details form and application, and paid the relevant fee, you can submit your application online through the website. 

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