Are you planning on setting up your dream business providing alcohol at a bar or restaurant? Or perhaps you are planning to participate in a street food and wine festival? If you are thinking about selling or offering alcohol as part of your business, you should apply for a liquor licence. This article outlines the process of getting a liquor licence in Western Australia.

Do I Need a Liquor Licence?

You can apply for a liquor licence in Western Australia from the Racing, Liquor and Gaming Department. Supplying alcohol without an approved licence is an offence that could land you in jail.

However, there are some situations where you may be exempt from needing a liquor licence in Western Australia:

  • Small Functions: These are small events where:
    • the total number of attendees over the entire course of the function does not exceed 100;
    • the service of liquor lasts a maximum of two hours; and
    • the serving of liquor is ancillary to the purpose of the function.
  • Complimentary Supply by Business: Businesses may supply liquor to customers without a licence if it is:
    • free of charge; and
    • ancillary to the purpose of the customer’s attendance at the business (e.g. a hair salon offering a customer a complimentary glass of wine).
  • Delivery of Gifts: If liquor is sold or supplied with flowers, food or other products and delivered as a gift, a licence is often not needed. However a number of conditions must be met (e.g. the delivery may only be between 7am and 7pm).

Am I Eligible for a 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;
  • disqualified from holding a licence;
  • incapable of managing your affairs because of a mental disorder; or
  • a public servant with a conflict of interest.

What Type of Licence Do I Need?

It is important you apply for the correct licence to make sure you can get your business off the ground as soon as possible.

When deciding what licence to apply for, think about:

  • how your business will run;
  • where the premises are; and
  • whether alcohol can be consumed at your premises, taken away for consumption or both.

Common licences include:

  • Restaurant licence: This is for businesses that supply liquor for consumption with a meal that has been supplied by you;
  • Nightclub licence: To be eligible for this licence, you must only sell alcohol if there is also continuous live entertainment, such as by a performer or a DJ;
  • Producer’s licence: This licence is perfect if you produce your own liquor. For example, if you own a winery, you would select this licence.
  • Liquor store licence: This is for the sale of liquor that is consumed off-premises, such as a bottle shop or the online sale of liquor.

Tip: If you have bought your licence from another licensee, you will need to apply for a transfer of licence application.


Pre-Lodgement Requirements

Before you get too bogged down in the preparation of your liquor licence application, make sure you have local council approval for your premises to supply liquor. You should also consider other council regulations, such as if there are noise restrictions where your premises are located.

If the council is on board with your idea, you will need to provide to the Racing Liquor and Gaming Department either a:

  • Certificate 40, which states that you will comply with the relevant legal requirements; or
  • planning approval.

You do not need to provide these when you apply, but they must be provided before determination of your application.

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.

Some licenses also require you to advertise your intention to obtain a licence to the local community, including neighbours and local schools, hospitals and any drug and alcohol treatment centres.

How Do I Lodge the Application?

Application kits for each type of licence are available on the Racing, Liquor and Gaming Department website. You can lodge the application through the website.

The time frame for receiving your liquor licence can vary depending on the details of your application and other external factors (such as council approval). The process can take anywhere between a few weeks up to 18 months, so it is best to get your application in as soon as you can and allow enough time for processing.

Key Takeaways

Establishing or purchasing a business that supplies liquor is an exciting time in any business owner’s life. Make sure you have a valid liquor licence in Western Australia if you wish to offer or supply alcohol to the public in that state.

It is important to choose the right licence and adequately prepare yourself with the correct training, plans and approvals so that your licence application will be successful.

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