Lodging a complaint for disciplinary action

How to lodge a complaint to the Commission under section 95.

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A complaint lodged to the commission under section 95 can be made by the:

  • Director
  • Commissioner of Police, except on the grounds referred to in subsections (4)(c), (d), (n) or (o)
  • by the local government of the district in which the licensed premises are situated or of any adjoining district, except on the grounds referred to in subsection 4(d), (f), (h), (m), (n), (o).

The complaint must include:

  • name of complainant
  • address of complainant
  • contact person and their details
  • name of licensee
  • name of premises
  • licence number
  • address for service of documents
  • that proper cause for disciplinary action exists and set out the grounds on which that allegation is based referring to the relevant sections of the Act
  • what action is being sought pursuant to the powers of section 96 of the Act
  • a date and signature.

The complaint can be lodged by:

  • hand delivery:
    Level 2, 140 William Street, Perth WA, 6000
  • pre-paid post:
    PO Box 8349, Perth Business Centre WA 6849
  • facsimile transmission to 61 8 9325 1041
  • email to executive@liquorcommission.wa.gov.au

A copy of the complaint must be served immediately on the licensee.

The Director, if satisfied that the safety, health or welfare of the public so requires, may impose a condition on, or vary or suspend the operation of a previous condition imposed on a licence, to have effect pending determination of the complaint.

Disciplinary powers

Extract from section 96 of the Liquor Control Act 1988.

  1. Upon the appearance of the licensee, and of any other person required to be given notice of the complaint, or complaints, under section 95 or in the absence of the licensee or other person after due notice was given (where applicable), the commission shall hear and determine the matter to which the complaint, or complaints, relate and, if it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the ground upon which the complaint was, or complaints, were made has been made out so that a proper cause for disciplinary action exists, the commission may –
    1. issue a reprimand;
    2. impose a condition to which the licence is to be subject or otherwise limit the authority conferred by the licence, and vary the licence accordingly;
    3. vary or cancel a condition to which the licence is subject;
    4. suspend the operation of the licence –
      1. until further order; or
      2. for a specified period;
    5. cancel the licence;
    6. disqualify, for such period as the commission thinks fit, the licensee from holding a licence;
    7. disqualify, for such period as the commission thinks fit, a person against whom a ground of complaint was made out from being –
      1. the holder of a position of authority in a body corporate that holds a licence; or
      2. interested in, or in the profits or proceeds of, a business carried on under a licence, subject to subsection (3);
    8. require a licensee, or a person against whom a ground of complaint was made out, to enter into a bond or give security for future conduct;
    9. give directions as to the conduct of the business of the licensee;
    10. require specified action to be taken by the licensee within a specified period;
    11. order the licensee or a person against whom a ground of complaint was made out to pay to the Crown a monetary penalty not exceeding $30,000; or
    12. make such other order as the commission thinks fit, in relation to the licensee or a person against whom a ground of complaint was made out,
      or may take no action in the matter.

Proper cause for Disciplinary Action

Extract from section 95 of the Liquor Control Act 1988.

  1. There shall be proper cause for disciplinary action if –
    1. the business conducted under the licence is not properly conducted in accordance with the licence;
    2. the licensed premises are not properly managed in accordance with this Act;
    3. the licensed premises —
      1. have fallen into disrepair;
      2. are otherwise in an unsatisfactory condition;
      3. have been altered without the prior approval of the Director; or
      4. contravene the requirements of a written law as to planning, building, health, or safety;
    4. the owner or occupier of the licensed premises has failed to comply with a direction given under section 77(2), or a requirement made under section 99;
    5. the licensee has —
      1. contravened a requirement of this Act or a term or condition of the licence;
      2. sold or supplied liquor otherwise than in accordance with the authorisation conferred by the licence; or
      3. failed to comply with a summons, direction or order under this Act;
    6. the licensee has been convicted of —
      1. an offence under this Act;
      2. an offence in any jurisdiction, that, in the opinion of the Director, may imply that the person is unfit to be the holder of a licence;
      3. an offence under the Health Act 1911 in relation to the licensed premises or liquor,
      4. or at a material time employed or engaged, in relation to the business carried on under the licence, a person who in the course of that business
      committed any such offence of which that person was convicted;
      fa. the licensee has been given an infringement notice under section 167 and the modified penalty has been paid in accordance with that section;
    7. the licensee otherwise is, or becomes, an unsuitable person to hold a licence under this Act;
    8. a person holding a position of authority in a body corporate that holds the licence, or who is interested in the business or the profits or proceeds of the business, is or becomes not a fit and proper person to hold that position or to be so interested;
    1. the continuation of the licence is not in the public interest or the licence has not been exercised in the public interest;
    2. the safety, health or welfare of persons who resort to the licensed premises is endangered by an act or neglect of the licensee;
    1. a person is convicted of unlawful gaming in respect of events that took place on the licensed premises;
    2. a licence fee payable under this Act, or a penalty for failure to pay a fee when it becomes due or to comply with a requirement made under section 99, is not paid on or before the date fixed for payment under this Act; or
    3. a determination previously made under section 96 has been contravened.

Constitution of the Commission

The commission is to be constituted by three members, including a member who is a legal practitioner.

The member or members who are to constitute the panel in relation to any application shall be selected by the Chairperson, who may have regard for their respective knowledge or experience relating to the application lodged.

What happens when you receive a complaint

Notice of a complaint under this section and of the time and place appointed for the hearing of the complaint shall be served by the commission:

  1. on the licensee;
  2. where the complaint is made on the grounds referred to –
    1. in subsection (4)(c) or (d), the owner or occupier of the premises; or
    2. in subsection (4)(h), the person concerned, in respect to whom the allegation is made; and
  3. any other person the commission may direct.

Upon making a complaint, the commission may require the complainant to attend a preliminary conference before the commission, and may require a licensee to show cause to the commission why disciplinary action should not be taken.

If the commission is satisfied that the grounds on which the allegation is based are vexatious or can not be made out the commission shall give notice of that determination to the complainant and the complaint shall not then be heard without leave of the commission.

Page reviewed 07 March 2024