Liquor restricted premises declaration
Part 5B of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act) enables the owner or occupier of a private premises or privately owned land to apply to the Director of Liquor Licensing (“the Director”) to have the premises declared a restricted residence for a specified period.
Private premises are considered to be:
- Residential premises, including single unit/apartment within a complex or building.
- Crown land leased or occupied under a licence or agreement.
- Privately owned land, including any buildings on the land.
The owner or occupier is defined as a person who is, or is entitled to be, in occupation or control of the premises, whether exclusively, jointly, or in common with other people.
The restricted premises process is designed to address, in an expedient manner, isolated and localised issues where it is reasonable in the circumstances for the Director to declare a premises a liquor restricted premises.
If friends and relatives regularly cause trouble when drinking liquor in a person’s home, or the owner or occupier is concerned about other antisocial alcohol related behaviour in the home, they can apply to have that place declared a liquor restricted premises.
Once a Liquor Restricted Premises Declaration has been issued, a notice must be displayed onsite. Declarations may be varied or revoked by the Director.
If someone is then drinking liquor or taking liquor into that restricted premises, the owner or occupier will be able to call the police, who will have the power to seize the liquor and take action against the person who committed the offence.
Police will also have the power to enter restricted premises if they believe that an offence is being committed. Police can then search the premises and anyone at the premises for liquor and can seize any opened or unopened containers.
Who can apply for a liquor restricted premises declaration
Section 152P(4) of the Act sets out who can make application to the Director for a liquor restricted premises declaration. An application can only be made by:
- an owner or occupier of a premises; or
- a prescribed class of persons.
Where the applicant is not the sole owner and occupier of a premises, the Director must be satisfied that each other person who owns or occupies the premises consents to the declaration being made or has been provided the opportunity to lodge a submission with the Director on the matter.
A lessor cannot automatically expect their premises be declared a liquor restricted premises without the lessee being consulted in the first instance.
Determining an application
In determining an application, the Director must be satisfied that making the declaration either reflects the wishes of the majority of the occupiers of the premises; or is in the public interest, despite not reflecting the wishes of the majority of the occupiers of the premises; and is reasonable in the circumstances.
The Director may consult with the Commissioner of Police, local government, owners or occupiers of the premises subject of the application or any other person considered relevant when determining an application. For example, if the application is for an apartment within a residential complex of multiple apartments, the Director may consult with the body corporate in relation to common use areas within the building.
Another example may be that the tenant of a Department of Housing property may seek the declaration, so the Director may consult with Department of Housing.
A declaration could be made for the whole property or only part. For example, if the application is in relation to a shopping centre, the declaration might be made for those areas other than restaurants and cafes.
Once a declaration is made, a notice must be displayed at the premises in a conspicuous place so that people entering that premises are aware of the declaration.
Duration of declarations
A liquor restricted premises declaration comes into force when the Director determines the application, or at a time specified in the declaration.
A declaration ceases to be in force when:
- the specified period of the declaration expires;
- the Director of Liquor Licensing revokes the declaration; or
- the applicant who originally applied for the declaration ceases to be the owner or occupier of the premises the declaration relates to.
The applicant for a declaration must give the Director notice should they no longer be a person who could apply for the declaration, for instance the applicant ceases to reside at the residence.
Varying or revoking declarations
A declaration can be varied or revoked on the initiative of the Director of Liquor Licensing or on the application by the applicant who originally applied for the declaration, any other person who owns or occupies the restricted premises, or the Commissioner of Police.
A variation may be made to do any or all of the following:
- change the area;
- change the periods during which the premises is declared a restricted premises;
- create or change exemptions or conditions; or
- change the duration.
Revoking or varying declarations cannot be made unless the Director is satisfied that each person who owns or occupies any part of the premises consents to the variation, or has had the opportunity to lodge a submission with the Director regarding the proposed variation or revocation. The Director may consult with the Commissioner of Police, local government or any other person considered relevant when determining an application.
The Director may vary a declaration if satisfied that the varied declaration reflects the wishes of the majority of the occupiers of the premises; or is in the public interest, despite no reflecting the wishes of the majority of the occupiers of the premises; and is reasonable in the circumstances.
The Director may revoke a declaration if satisfied that the continuation does not reflect the wishes of the majority of occupiers of the premises; or is not in the public interest for it to remain; or it is no longer considered reasonable to be in force.
A penalty of $2000 applies if:
- a person brings or attempts to bring liquor, causes or attempts to cause liquor onto declared liquor restricted premises or consumes or possesses liquor on a declared restricted premises;
- the applicant fails to display a notice declaring that the premises is a restricted premises; and
- the applicant fails to notify the Director that they have ceased to be a person who could apply for the declaration (not applicable to any person, or class of person, prescribed in the Regulations).
It is not an offence for a person who is passing though restricted premises, open to or used by the public, with unopened liquor if it is to be consumed somewhere else. For example, if part of a shopping centre is a restricted area you can carry liquor bought at a liquor store through the area without committing an offence.
A person cannot be charged if that person did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the premises were liquor restricted premises.