Summary of major changes to be made to the Liquor Control Act 1988 and Regulations

 Background

In 2012, the Government established an independent committee to undertake a review of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (Act) and Liquor Control Regulations 1989(Regulations). 

The review was presented to the Minister in January 2014 and contained 141 recommendations.

On 18 November 2014, the Government responded to each of the Committee’s recommendations.  Below is a summary of the major amendments that the Government proposes to make to the Act and Regulations.

Public Interest Assessment

  • The Director will have a discretion to consider removal and redefinition / alteration applications without having to consider the public interest provisions. The Government in a comment has suggested that an incident of this amendment may be that an application to remove a licence within 500m of the licensed premises may be able to be dealt with informally.
  • PIA’s may permit the outcome of community consultation to be provided in applications for ‘high risk’ licences (includes hotel, tavern, nightclub, liquor store, casino and special facility) by way of a Community Impact Statement, which can be taken into account by Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (DRGL) when determining if an application is in the public interest.
  • DRGL may take into account submissions lodged in support of, or opposed to, an application as matters to be taken into account when determining whether an application is in the public interest. Query if this means a return to the practice of providing ‘needs’ (and ‘anti-needs’) witness statements.
  • An extended trading permit renewal will not require a public interest assessment unless the Director otherwise determines.
  • An application for an extended trading permit for ongoing hours will need to address the existing criteria in relation to harm, impact on amenity and offence and annoyance, as well as the current trading hours and extended trading permits of other licensed premises in the locality.

Interventions

The Commissioner of Police will be required to lodge a notice of intervention not later than the last day on which objections should be lodged, or with leave of the Director, before the day appointed for the hearing of the application.

Objections and Submissions

Stakeholders will be able to lodge either a submission or an objection.  A submission can be in support of, or opposed to an application and will not be required to be 'made out'.  However, decision making will remain evidence based.

The director will be required to serve all objections / submissions within 14 days of the last objection date and the Director must notify an applicant if an objection is struck out.

Responsible Practices

All registers required to be kept under sections 103A and 116A of the Act may be maintained in electronic form and must be maintained for four (4) years.

The licensee's incident register and the crowd controller agent incident register can be maintained as one register.

Licensed crowd controllers who undertake duties associated with controlling entry and exits to, and monitoring behaviour in, licensed premises will be required to complete the nationally accredited unit of Responsible Service of Alcohol training.

Online Liquor

The Government does not support the introduction of an additional class of licence for a direct sales or online liquor business.

Licensees:

  • Who sell liquor by taking orders over the telephone or by facsimile or by mail order or through an internet site must cause their licence number to be displayed in any advertisement or information published in writing or electronically in connection with such sales.
  • Who sell liquor by taking orders over the telephone or by facsimile or by mail order, or who sell liquor through an internet site:
  1. must, at the time at which an agreement for sale is made, require the prospective purchaser to supply the purchaser’s date of birth;
  2. must give written instructions to the person responsible for delivery of the liquor, requiring that the liquor be delivered:
  1. to the adult person who placed the order; or
  2. to another adult person at those premises who undertakes to accept it on behalf of the person who placed the order; or
  3. if the delivery is made on a day after the day the order is taken, or the sale made through an internet site, in accordance with the customer’s instructions.

Juveniles

It will be a criminal offence to deliver liquor to a juvenile in Western Australia.  The offence provision will apply to both the person delivering the liquor and the licensee who sold the liquor.

It will be an offence for a person to supply liquor to a juvenile on unlicensed premises.  It will be a defence if the relevant person is a parent or guardian of the juvenile or were authorised by a parent or guardian of the juvenile to supply the liquor to the juvenile.  Where a person is authorised to supply liquor to a juvenile by the parent or guardian, the person must not supply liquor to the juvenile unless the supply is consistent with the responsible supervision of the juvenile.  Unlicensed premises will be defined as any place other than licensed or regulated premises and including residential premises.

The WA Police will be able to seize any liquor in the possession of a juvenile who is contravening any provision of the Act.

False Identification

It will be an offence for a person to:

  • give an evidence of age document to another;
  • deface / interfere with an evidence of age document;
  • knowingly make a false evidence of age document;
  • knowingly give a false evidence of age document to another;
  • supply false documents to obtain an evidence of age document;
  • pass on any documents or material that does not relate to him or her for the purposes of an evidence of age document; and
  • give a document or material to another person to support an application for a proof of age card that contains information that is false / misleading.

Each offence will have a maximum penalty of $2,000.

Restaurant Licence

For restaurants up to a limit of 120 patrons, the requirement for liquor to be supplied ancillary to a meal supplied by the licensee will be removed during the following hours: 

  • Monday to Saturday between the hours of 6:00am and 12:00 midnight; and
  • Sunday from 10:00am to 10:00pm

​Christmas Day, Good Friday or before noon on ANZAC day are excluded.

Producers Licence

  • Beer producers will be able to sell liquor for consumption, on a part of the licensed premises approved for the purpose by the Director, between the hours of 10:00am and 10:00pm;
  • Producers will be able to establish a collective cellar door retail outlet within the same wine region as their production facilities;
  • Producers will be able to conduct online and telephone sales from a place other than the licensed premises or from an approved offsite storage facility;
  • Producers will be able to sell liquor other than their own, if sold ancillary to a meal in a designated dining area which forms part of their licensed premises or an area the subject of an extended trading permit or for the purpose of comparative tastings;
  • Wine producers will be able to attend any farmer's markets;
  • 2.5 litres will be increased to 9 litres of liquor that can be sold or supplied for a farmer's market stall, in an aggregate quantity, on any one day;
  • A process will be developed whereby licensees will only be required to seek approval from DRGL at the beginning of each year of their proposed attendance at events such as farmer's markets and food and wine festivals.

Wholesaler's Licence

The licensee of a wholesaler's licence will be able to, during permitted hours, sell packaged liquor on or from the licensed premises, in an aggregate quantity per person of not less than 3.96 litres (previously 9 litres), to any person for consumption off the premises.

Tour Operators

The Regulations will be amended to provide an exemption for the sale and supply of liquor by accredited tour operators in prescribed circumstances.

Trading Hours

Liquor store licences - Sunday trading

All liquor stores in major regional centres will be able to trade on Sundays between 10:00am and 10:00pm.  Previously, only metropolitan liquor stores could trade on a Sunday without an extended trading permit.  The term major regional centres has not been defined at this point.

Hotel, tavern and small bars

Hotel, tavern and small bar licences will be able to trade until 12:00 midnight on Sunday evenings (presently 10:00pm close).

Nightclubs

Nightclub trading hours will be extended to 2:00am on Sunday nights (previously 12:00 midnight close).

When the amendments will come into effect

The Government intends to legislate in two stages, those issues that have strong cross-industry and community support will be legislated as a priority, coming into effect early to mid next year, while the remaining issues will be refined and dealt with at a later stage.