Packaged Liquor Licence (Liquor Store/ Bottle Shop)

20 April 2012

The process for obtaining a liquor licence for a liquor store/bottle shop under the new Liquor Act can be much simpler, faster, and considerably less expensive than was the case under the former Act.

As a result, we have already received numerous enquiries in respect of this type of licence. When first contacting us most clients have expressed their surprise at the costs involved as they anticipated that they would be significantly higher.

The relevant licence that applies to a bottle shop/liquor store is a “packaged liquor licence”. There are 2 classes of packaged liquor licence being:
1) an unrestricted licence such as that applying to a bottle shop/ liquor store where customers can attend the licensed premises to purchase liquor and;
2) a licence which is limited to sales by means of taking order only over the internet, telephone or by facsimile or mail order. Please see our separate news article under the heading “Internet Retail Licences Liquor” for more information on the other class of packaged liquor licence.

In order to grant such a licence, the Liquor Authority does not need to be satisfied that there is a need for the licence, but rather that the overall social impact in granting the licence will not be detrimental to the well being of the local community and broader community (see further below in this regard).

The Authority must also be satisfied of other matters including that any required development approval from Council has been obtained, adequate responsible service of liquor practices will be in place, and that the licensee is a fit and proper person to be the holder of the licence.

The process for obtaining this type of licence comprises 2 steps. The first step involves the preparation of a Category B Community Impact Statement (CIS) which is the more complex form of CIS. This requires service of notice of the proposal on various stakeholders including the occupiers' of all buildings situated on land within 100 metres of the proposed liquor store. As well as special interest groups in the area, the Police, Council and various other organisations. Stakeholders have 30 days to raise any concerns in respect of the proposal. Consultation is then required with persons who have raised concerns.

After the CIS has been prepared and lodged with the Liquor Authority together with an application for the licence, all of the stakeholders are required to be served with notice of the application and they and any other person have 30 days to file submissions with the Liquor Authority.

The Authority will eventually review the application and if any submissions have been received, these must be responded to before the application is determined.

How long does it take?
The length of time to obtain such a licence will depend on the level of concerns/submissions received and the workload of the Authority. However, at present it is taking up to 6 months from commencement of the process until determination of the application.

Because time is often a factor, it is usually the case that the liquor licence process will be commenced at the same time as filing the development application with Council (if such application is required).

How we can help
We can assist with both stages of the liquor licence application, the preparation of the development application to Council and if required by Council, the preparation of a Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Some Councils require the preparation of an SIA as part of the development process and if an SIA is required a request for same is usually made after lodgement of the application.

As stated above, if development approval is required from Council for use of the relevant shop as a liquor store/bottle shop, then this approval will need to be in place before the licence is granted - but does not need to be in place when commencing the process for the licence or lodging the application for the licence.

There are a number of matters that need to be taken into consideration before applying for such a licence.
The principal issue is to assess the site and the area where the proposed liquor store will be located to form a view as to whether the overall social impact of the liquor store/bottle shop in that specific area will be detrimental to the well-being of the local community and broader community. We have been involved in matters where we have provided advice to clients that, in our opinion a specific site was unsuitable. For instance because of liquor related issues existing in the local community, the overall social impact would be detrimental, and therefore the application was unlikely to be successful.

If you are interested in applying for such a licence please contact us for your obligation free quote and we will advise as to whether we believe it is worthwhile proceeding with such an application in your circumstances. The first consultation is free. As stated above we can assist with both the liquor licence application and the Council application.

 

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