If you are starting a business that involves the sale of alcohol, you will need to obtain a liquor licence. In Tasmania, you can do this through the state government’s Liquor and Gaming department. In this article, we set out the steps involved in applying for a liquor licence in Tasmania.
1. Am I Eligible to Apply?
Holding a liquor licence is a privilege that comes with strict responsibilities. Accordingly, you must meet several criteria to apply. To qualify, you must be:
- over the age of 18 years;
- a ‘fit and proper’ person;
- able to exercise effective control over the service and consumption of alcohol; and
- aware of the necessary knowledge, experience and competency required to serve alcohol.
A ‘Fit and Proper’ Person
Determining whether a person is ‘fit and proper’ for the provision of alcohol requires assessing their character and reputation. This assessment is required because liquor licences are only granted when it is in the best interests of the community.
Accordingly, you may not be considered a fit and proper person if:
- you have had any major convictions within a certain period;
- show a consistent disregard for the law;
- are unable to handle your finances and have been bankrupt; or
- have a history of previously not complying with liquor regulations.
Exercising Effective Control
You must also be able to prove that you are capable of exercising effective control over the service and consumption of alcohol. You can demonstrate this by providing details of company policies and procedures that are in place to minimise risk and maintain control. This may include detailing:
- management structures that will be used to monitor the sale and consumption of alcohol;
- employee policies and training; and
- when you (the applicant) will physically be at the premises.
Tip: You will need to have completed a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course prior to submitting your application. However, be aware that your employees must also hold an RSA certificate, even if they are simply taking customer orders.
2. What Licence Type is Right For Me?
There are five types of licences you can apply for in Tasmania, depending on:
- the type of business you operate;
- when you intend to be open; and
- whether you plan to sell liquor for off-premises consumption.
The table below describes these five licences in more detail.
|General Licence||These licences are suitable for premises that want to supply alcohol for consumption:
Therefore, this may be the right licence for you if you are operating a hotel with both a bar and a bottle shop.
This licence type is usually used for sporting or RSL Clubs.
However, you can only sell liquor on premises:
This licence may be appropriate for you if you are running a bar or nightclub where the liquor is consumed on the premises.
Under this licence, sales are restricted to 5am to midnight.
|Off-Licence||Typically used for bottle shops, this licence permits off-premises consumption.|
A special licence allows for a more tailored licence to your venue’s specific needs, subject to conditions in the licence.
So, you may wish to apply for a Special Licence if you are a restaurant, function centre or wine producer.
Tip: If you want to operate between 12am and 5am, you will also need to apply for an out-of-hours permit.
3. What Should I Include in My Application?
Your licence application has several components. These include:
- a licence application form;
- evidence that you will be able to exercise effective control over the service and consumption of liquor;
- evidence of how your application is in the best interests of the community (see below);
- planning approvals;
- general details of your services and facilities (e.g. construction details, floor and site plan, and photographs); and
- the licence application fee.
However, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to gather all the relevant information.
Best Interests of Community
Liquor licences are issued in such way as to minimise the harm that may arise from the misuse of liquor. You therefore have a responsibility to carry out your business in a way that is in the best interests of the public. This will probably involve demonstrating that the benefits to the community (e.g. employment, tourism or recreational advantages) outweigh any negatives (e.g. facilitating anti-social behaviour).
4. How Do I Submit My Application?
Once you have prepared your documents and spoken to your local council about any local requirements, you will be ready to submit your application. You can do this in person or by email, post or fax.
Operating a business that serves or sells alcohol requires you to have a liquor licence for your premises. Prepare for your licence application by:
- ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements;
- determining what licence you need; and
- considering the impact your business will have on the community.
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