Liquor Licensing – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on one of the following links to view the answer to your question.

New Licence

Generally, an application for a new licence will take around six weeks from the date of lodgement. This time period is based on the proviso that all documentation is provided and all application requirements have been addressed.

Any outstanding documents must also be lodged with this office no later than 7 days prior to the application being heard (the hearing date) to prevent any delays with the approval process.

However:

(a) if, the required documents are not received by this office at least 7 days prior to the hearing date then the matter may be adjourned to a later date to give this office time to examine the submitted documents
(b) if an objection to the application is lodged then a time is made for a conciliation hearing between the applicant and the objector(s).
(c) if an Intervention to the application is lodged by the Commissioner of Police or the local council then a time is made for a conciliation hearing between the applicant and the intervening party as directed.

Applications for a limited licence can be lodged online. Applicants will be advised during the lodgement process of any additional information required.

Applications must be lodged at least 14 days prior to the event. For large commercial or high risk events (ie festivals, multi-day events, etc), applications must be lodged 60 days prior to the commencement of the event.

An application fee is payable for each day of the event to which the licence applies.

However, no fee is payable for an application for a limited licence if the licence is granted for a function or functions that, in the opinion of the licensing authority, are to be held for charitable or other community purposes.

The Application is Processed

The application once lodged is checked and recorded by this Office’s Customer Service Centre, which process all documents received and arranges the following:

  • a hearing date is set
  • a letter is sent to the applicant which includes:
    • notification of hearing, including details on place, date and time,
    • details of outstanding documents required no later than 7 days prior to the hearing date,
    • copy of the Form 1 notifying advertising requirements,
    • copy of the relevant practice direction relating to the lodgement of supporting documents.The application is then sent to the application processing section to prepare for the hearing

All outstanding documents must be submitted at least 7 days prior to the set hearing date to ensure that the date set is not adjourned.

How Long Does an Application Take to be Granted?

An application that is required to be advertised usually takes about six weeks from lodgement to determine, but it may take longer if an objection has been lodged.

No, the application fee under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 is a one-off processing fee required at the time of the application.

A continuous licensing system operates which means that you do not have to periodically renew your licence, however liquor licensees may be required to pay an annual
licence fee.

Holders of liquor licences (other than limited licences) may be required to pay
an annual licence fee in accordance with the Liquor Licensing (General) Regulations 2012. Invoices will be issued each year in March and are payable by 30 June.

A licence fee for a limited licence (in addition to the application fee) is payable on the grant of the licence for large commercial or high risk events which meet the following criteria—

  • authorises the sale or supply of liquor past 1am, the licensed premises are outdoors and the licence states the maximum capacity of the licensed premises is more than 300 people; or
  • contemplates boxing, wrestling or other entertainment that, in the opinion of the licensing authority, should be regarded as adult entertainment being provided on the licensed premises during the whole or part of the hours that the licence authorises the sale or supply of liquor; or
  • authorises the sale or supply of liquor is past 1am and the maximum capacity of the licensed premises multiplied by the number of days for the event is more than 1 000 people; or
  • the maximum capacity of the licensed premises multiplied by the number of days for the event is more than 5 000 people; or
  • as determined by the Commissioner based on the nature of the event or the resources required for the administration or enforcement of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997.

An invoice will be issued to the licensee after the grant of the limited licence advising the amount due, date payable and the available payment methods (including the online facility).

The fee must be paid before the commencement of the event, or the licence will be cancelled.

A licence fee is not required for a limited licence if —

  • no fee was payable for the application of the licence; or
  • the licence was granted to the holder of an existing liquor licence.

When submitting a plan to Consumer and Business services, specific colours are used to designate nominated areas..

  • Licensed area(s) – must be outlined in RED.
  • Gaming area(s) – must be outlined in PURPLE.
  • Extended trading area(s) – must be outlined in PINK.
  • Out of bounds to minors – must be outlined in ORANGE.
  • Minors permitted after midnight – must be outlined in a BROKEN ORANGE line.

Note – plans must be to scale and drawn on at least A3 size paper.

You can download a Plan Lodgement Guide (PDF 280KB) to help you with submitting your premises plan.

Alterations

Alterations to licensed premises means that any changes to existing premises, no matter how small, structural or non-structural requires approval from Consumer and Business Services.

Building work of a non-structural nature e.g. extending or shortening a liquor servery may not require council approval but still needs the approval from this Office.

Building work of a structural nature e.g. removing walls may require development approval from the local council or the relevant authority.

Alterations to a licensed premises, that effect areas such as Entertainment, Extended Trading Authorisation etc. may require advertising which would be decided by the Commissioner.

Alterations may also effect the capacities set for each area either by increasing or decreasing the amount of space available. If this happens then the capacities fixed for those areas may need to be reviewed. Capacities are calculated in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. For further information on Alterations contact this office.

Redefinition

Redefinition of a licensed premises occurs when the licensed boundary alters by either increasing the proposed licensed area or removing part of the licensed area.

Redefinition often follows alterations to the premises, for example where a new room is built on, or existing walls are taken out. The licensed area is redefined to include the new areas or to delete existing areas. The address of the premises remains the same.

Approvals

Generally any change to a licensed premises will need an approval. The approval process takes into account licensed capacities, emergency access, patron comfort and the impact of the changes to the surrounding area.

If you are uncertain whether approval is necessary please contact Consumer and Business Services to discuss your proposal. It is an offence to alter a premises without approval under Section 68(3) of the Liquor Licensing Act, 1997.

Applications for Alterations or Redefinitions must be made by the licensee and in the case of licensed clubs, the minutes of the club meeting approving the application for the proposed alterations or redefinition is also required.
Plans Detailed plans are required to clearly show the intended changes.

Other Approvals

Applicants are encouraged to consult with their local council about all changes to building structure or its use. Once obtained, a copy of the necessary approvals should be included with the application. If it is established that no approvals are required it is also helpful to obtain such advice in writing and include a copy with your application.

A licensee may apply to the licensing authority for approval to sell liquor in an area adjacent to the licensed premises, for consumption in that area where for some reason the area does not form part of a lease or freehold holding and therefore, redefinition at the licensed area is not appropriate.

This provision allows the licensing authority to extend the licensed area of a premises to include outdoor areas such as footpaths or parts of shopping malls. An area approved under an extension of trading area then forms part of the licensed premises and is subject to the same conditions of the licence and possibly will also incur other specific conditions of approval relevant only to the adjacent area approved.

Before approving an extension of trading area the licensing authority must be satisfied that:

  • the object of the application could not be more appropriately achieved by redefinition;
  • the licensee is entitled to sell or supply liquor in the area and the correct consents are obtained;
  • the area can be adequately defined and supervised;
  • the owner of the premises/shopping centre consents to the application (if not owned by the licensee)
  • if the area is under control of council, the council approves the application.

Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997, all licensed premises (except those where an exemption under section 97 (2) of the Act has been given,) must at all times when open to the public, be personally supervised and managed by an approved responsible person.

A minor may be employed on licensed premises to carry out tasks such as clearing tables or general cleaning duties, but may not be employed to sell, supply or serve liquor on the licensed premises.

However, a minor may be employed to sell, supply or serve liquor on the licensed premises if he or she is a child of the licensee or of an approved responsible person and he or she is aged 16 years of age or more, and has been approved by the licensing authority.

In the case where the minor is a child of the licensee or of an approved responsible person, aged 16 years of age or older and is a resident at the premises, then approval by the licensing authority is not required.

However, if the licensed premises also has a gaming machine licence, the minor is not allowed to enter the gaming area(s) of the licensed premises.

For further information on this please contact this Office’s Customer Service Centre.

Under Section 21(1)(d) of the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986 (SA), a worker must not, due to the consumption of alcohol or a drug, endanger their own or anyone else’s safety at work.

Employers must provide a safe work environment and safe systems of work, which includes alcohol and drug rules for the workplace. Section 19(1)

The Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986 (SA) also outlines the employers responsibilities. Section 19(1) of the Act states:

Breaches of these sections by either the employee or employer can result in fines being imposed by the relevant authority (these fines are imposed by The Office for the Commissioner for Public Employment). In addition, public liability and criminal law proceedings may be applicable, resulting in the payment of compensation and/or a criminal record.

General Code of Practice

Please refer to the Commissioner’s General Code of Practice under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997.

A licensee who displays or publishes advertisements for liquor or otherwise promotes liquor must establish and maintain appropriate practices to promote a responsible attitude in relation to such advertisements or promotions.

In particular, a licensee must not display or publish an advertisement for liquor or promote liquor in a way that:

  • tends to encourage minors to consume liquor; or
  • tends to encourage rapid or excessive consumption of alcohol.

A licensee or an approved responsible person of a licensed premises may, by order served on a person, bar the person from entering or remaining on the licensed premises (including areas adjacent to licensed premises which are under the control of the licensee) for a specified period.

A person can be barred:

  • if the person commits an offence, or behaves in an offensive or disorderly manner, on, or in an area adjacent to, the licensed premises;
  • if licensee or an approved responsible person is satisfied that the welfare of the person, or the welfare of a person residing with the person, is seriously at risk as a result of the consumption of alcohol by the person;
  • on any other reasonable ground.

A person who enters or remains on premises from which he or she is barred is guilty of an offence.

A licensee or an approved responsible person of licensed premises, or an employee of the licensee who allows a person to enter or remain on premises from which he or she is barred is also guilty of an offence.

A barred person may be prevented from entering the premises or may be removed from the premises by the licensee, an approved responsible person, agent or employee of the licensee or a police officer using such force as is reasonably necessary for the purpose.

Barring periods may range from:

  • First time Barred – for a period of up to three months; or
  • Second time Barred – for a period of up to six months; or
  • Third time Barred – indefinitely.

In addition a licensee can bar a person indefinitely (or for a specified period) if they believe that the welfare of a person or the welfare of a person residing with that person, is seriously at risk as the result of the consumption of alcohol on the licensed premises.

Appeals to the Commissioner to Review a Barring Order

A person who has been served with a barring order for a period in excess of one month may apply to Consumer and Business Services for a review of that barring. At the review the Commissioner may confirm, vary or revoke the barring.

Revocation of a Barring Order

A licensee or the approved responsible person of the licensed premises may, by subsequent order served on a person, revoke an order.

Also see Barring Brochure (PDF 1.34MB)

In its traditional form, only a couple of drops of bitters would be used in the drink, the resultant beverage not containing a sufficient level of alcohol to constitute ‘liquor’ within the meaning of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997.

  • Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1997, Liquor means: A beverage which at 20 degrees Celsius contains more than 1.15% alcohol by volume and includes any substance declared by regulation to be liquor for the purposes of the Act.

However, should the traditional amount of bitters be exceeded, the beverage could well fall into the ‘liquor’ category. Consultation with bar-persons to ensure traditional mixture is used is recommended prior to purchasing a lemon, lime and bitters drink for a child.

As the licensee or the responsible person on duty, you are responsible for the supply of liquor on your licensed premises and must ensure that minors are not supplied with liquor by your staff or other patrons. A person supplying a minor with liquor on a licensed premises, even an accompanying adult, is guilty of an offence, as is the licensee

Patrons who BYO or purchase wine on a licensed premises are allowed to take any unconsumed portion away with them in its original container. This means that patrons will not have to leave behind wine that they have brought or paid for and allows patrons who would rather finish the bottle at a later time to be able to do so.

No. This is at the discretion of the licensee.

A licensee cannot sell or supply liquor to patrons outside of authorised trading hours. However, a patron who purchases liquor during authorised trading hours has 15 minutes afterwards to consume that liquor. “Carry-off” liquor must be removed within 30 minutes after authorised trading hours have ceased.

Patrons may consume liquor on the premises in a designated dining area with or ancillary to a genuine meal or when attending a reception in a designated reception area at any time subject to any specific licence conditions restricting trading hours under these circumstances.

Specific rules apply to lodgers, resident licensees, and responsible persons and their families and guests and to non-resident licensees and employees. Please contact
this office or your industry association if you have any enquiries.

For enquiries or complaints about Security Guards/ Agents please contact Consumer and Business Services