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Ever thought about starting your own craft beer brewery? Or, maybe you plant to add a bar to your cafe or restaurant? To manufacture or serve alcohol in Queensland, your business needs to hold a liquor or wine licence. This article answers some common questions about getting a liquor licence in Queensland.

Which Type of Liquor Licence Do I Need?

The first step in determining the right licence for your business is to consider whether your business falls within an exception. 

For example, you may be exempt from obtaining a liquor license if you own a:

  • hairdressing salon;
  • bed and breakfast accommodation; or
  • tour or limousine company. However, you will need to limit the supply of liquor to two standard drinks per person, per day. 

An exemption also applies where your business sells gift baskets or floral arrangements where: 

  • the volume of the alcohol does not exceed two litres; and 
  • the value of the alcohol is not more than 75% of the total sale price of the gift; and 
  • you meet certain other requirements.

If your business does not fall within one of these exemptions, there are seven broad categories of wine and liquor licences that may be suitable for your business. These encompass a range of commercial and community ventures, including: 

  • hotel licences required to run a hotel or tavern; 
  • small bar licences; 
  • producer or wholesaler licences for breweries; and 
  • subsidiary on-premises licences, typically required by restaurants and cafes. 

If your business is planning an event and intends to serve alcohol in a public area, such as a park, you will need to ask your local council to declare that space a ‘wet area’. If you fail to do so, both you and your patrons may face serious fines.

Selecting the correct licence for your establishment is essential to ensure that the application process is smooth and you receive your licence as soon as possible. 

How Do I Apply for a Licence?

Once you have now chosen a suitable licence for your business, you may still be unsure about how to apply for it. You may want to contact a solicitor for assistance before submitting your application to ensure that everything is completed and lodged correctly.

To apply, you will need to obtain and fill out the ‘application for a liquor licence’ form 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.

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) is responsible for liquor regulation and licensing in Queensland and has stipulated that you must satisfy a number of minimum requirements. 

For example, alongside floor plans of your venue, you may need to provide both a RAMP (your Risk Assessment and Management Plan outlining management practices and procedures) and a reflective CIS (Community Impact Statement).

To hold a liquor licence or permit in Queensland, you must be a ‘fit and proper person’ under the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld). You will be considered ‘fit and proper’ if you:

  • can demonstrate a knowledge and good understanding of your obligations under a liquor licence;
  • have a good reputation, without a history of behaviour which could make you unsuitable to hold a liquor licence; and
  • are able to demonstrate a responsible attitude in relation to your financial obligations.

How Much Are Licensing Fees?

Now that you know which licence you would like to apply for and how to apply for it, you will need to factor licencing fees into your budget.

OLGR 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. 

Typically, applications can cost up to $7,250. In addition to this upfront cost, licences are subject to a range of ongoing fees, including: 

  • a base annual fee (if successful); and
  • additional fees calculated based on the level of risk associated with extended trading hours, compliance history, or any applications made to vary your existing licence (e.g. in order to change the area or capacity of the licensed premises). 

How Long Will My Application Take to Get Approved?

The OLGR may take four to six months to approve your application. This may be longer if you receive public objections during the advertisement period. As such, liquor licencing is an important factor to consider when developing your timeline for business development. 

Key Takeaways

Deciding to establish your own business can be both challenging and rewarding, particularly where you will require additional licenses. Make sure that you consider carefully which liquor licence you will need and seek assistance where necessary. 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 Queensland?

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) is responsible for liquor regulation and licensing in Queensland.

How much does a liquor licence cost in Queensland?

Typically, liquor licence applications can cost up to $7,250. In addition to this upfront cost, licences are subject to a range of ongoing fees.

How long will my liquor licence take to get approved in Queensland?

The OLGR may take four to six months to approve your application. This may be longer if you receive public objections during the advertisement period.


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