Interested in owning a business like a bottle shop, nightclub, bar or restaurant in the ACT? If you answered yes, then your business will most likely need a liquor licence. Not quite sure what the process is for applying? We run you through the steps you’ll need to complete to get your business up and running.

What Liquor Licence Should I Apply For?

The ACT has five main licences that will allow you to sell alcohol in an open container for consumption on your business or in closed containers for consumption away from your business. These licence types are as follows:

  • General licence
  • On licence
  • Club licence
  • Off-licence, and
  • Special licence.

Some of these licences have sub-classes that you will also need to consider when determining which licence to apply for. For example, the On licence allows a licensee to sell liquor on their premises and has sub-classes that apply to nightclubs, bars, restaurants and cafes. The cost of each application will vary depending on the licence you have applied for.

How do I Apply for a Licence?

Access Canberra is the platform you’ll need to submit your application once you’ve decided what class of liquor licence best suits your business. This will involve submitting the application fee and completing the application form.

What Will I Need to Include in my Application?

You will be required to submit suitability information and a recent National Police Check for the key people involved in your business. This aims to ensure that liquor licences are only granted to applicants who will comply with all requirements of the licence, such as the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

Key people you will need to provide information on include the applicant and any investors/directors or other person with significant influence on the business. You will also need to provide information about staff who have the power to make business decisions in the absence of the licensee. If you’re applying on behalf of a corporation, then you will need to provide the same information for executives and anyone who has the power to appoint an executive.

Liquor Licence for a New Premises

You’re required to give the public 30 days notice of your application including displaying a sign at the premises and publishing notice on the ACT Open Government website. The community can then make submissions that you’ll have the opportunity to address later in the process.

What is a Risk Assessment Management Plan?

These plans are an important part of your application for a liquor licence. The plan will allow you to demonstrate what measures you will have in place to ensure minimal disturbance to the community and maximise occupancy safety. The plan should include information on how you intend to provide adequate security, fire safety, noise compliance and serve alcohol responsibly.

Is That Everything?

Not quite, you’ll also need to ensure that you, your close associates and your staff have all completed a recognised Responsible Service of Alcohol training program within the last three years – this is an ongoing requirement.

Liquor licencing is a heavily regulated area in which to operate a business and there may be several other compliance requirements that are relevant to your liquor licence. If you have any questions or need assistance with your liquor licence application, let us know. 

Thomas Richman

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