Liquor licence application considerations

Applications generally come to the attention of the Office of the Chief Health Officer via Gazette, the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (DRGL) website (external site), written communication from the DRGL or direct contact from a licensee.

Does the Chief Health Officer consider applications from all over the State or just in entertainment precincts?

Liquor licence applications are considered state-wide in terms of risk of alcohol-related harm or ill-health.

What licence application types does the Chief Health Officer consider?

Not all application types are reviewed because of the limited scope of the Chief Health Officer in the liquor licensing process.

While there are exceptions, Wholesaler, Producer, Restaurant and Transfer of Licence applications are generally noted but not advanced for investigation due to the nature of the licences. Applications for ‘Liquor without a Meal’ Permit are reviewed in a limited manner. Occasional licences are also not commonly reviewed unless they are brought to the attention of the Chief Health Officer by a concerned stakeholder.

Does the Chief Health Officer take a ‘blanket’ approach to liquor licence applications?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to liquor licence applications - each application is considered on a case by case basis.

This is because:

  • Each of the features of an application, and the locality in which it is going to operate, can interact differently in terms of potential for harm and/or ill-health. 
  • Some of the characteristics associated with a venue itself, or the locality, may reduce the risk of harm, while others may increase it.

These considerations are undertaken for each individual application before conclusions can be drawn regarding the potential for harm or ill-health and the minimisation of that harm.

What sort of information does the Chief Health Officer consider when investigating a potentially high risk application?

A range of information is considered in the investigation process – it is different for each application and depends strongly on what the applicant includes in their application.

A macro- and micro- level risk analysis, based on available information within the short timeframes set by the Licensing Authority, is carried out. Considerations can include (but are not limited to):

  • region
  • town
  • community in which the venue is/will be located
  • immediate locality of the venue 
  • proposed/existing nature of the venue including licence type, patron capacity, nature of the licence and existing practices and/or proposed responses to local issues.

A licensee’s application material, relevant international, national and local literature, expert opinion, local and state based data (availability can vary), local stakeholders and local community, are just some of the sources of information considered when investigating a potential high risk licence application.

Broader research literature is considered where relevant. The broader research can provide an evidence-based framework for the analysis of the unique circumstances of an application but is always only one aspect of the information considered.