Theme 3: Enhanced harm minimisation enforcement and compliance

The Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act) and the Liquor Control Regulations 1989 (the Regulations) provide the tools needed by the Director of Liquor Licensing to ensure licensees comply with their obligations under the legislation and licence conditions.

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The aim of these reforms is to:

  • enhance the effectiveness of enforcement tools
  • review the powers of authorised DLGSC officers and WA Police officers in enforcing compliance with the legislation
  • encourage licensees to comply with their obligations.

The key proposals being explored in Theme 3 include:

Rewarding compliant operators: incentive and demerit point system

New South Wales (NSW) implemented an incentive and demerit point system for liquor licensees, to reward good compliance and penalise poor compliance.

  • Venues, licensees and managers who demonstrate good compliance:
    • will not incur demerit points
    • will receive a discount on their licensing fees. For example, 5 per cent discount on licence fees for 3 years without accumulating demerit points, or 10 percent discount for 5 years without demerit points.
  • Venues, licensees and managers who demonstrate poor compliance or serious offences under the legislation will incur demerit points, which:
    • expire after 3 years
    • result in an increased annual liquor licence fees
    • may result in other escalating penalties. For example, a reprimand, suspension or permanent disqualification for licensees, managers or club secretaries.

This model will be assessed to determine its suitability for use in WA.   

Specifically, consideration will be given to whether it may assist in the reduction of serious alcohol related violence and repeated non-compliance with the legislation.

Enhancing harm minimisation options

A number of harm minimisation tools are available to the licensing authority:

  • Barring Notices: Enables police to bar a person from licensed premises if a person has committed violence, engaged in indecent or disorderly conduct or has broken a law ‘on or in the vicinity of a licensed premises’.
  • Prohibition Orders: Police can apply to the Director of Liquor Licensing for a prohibition order to be made against a person who has been involved in anti-social behaviour in or around licensed premises, or whose presence or employment in licensed premises is deemed to be problematic due to their involvement in serious or organised crime.
  • Penalties: Fines and prison terms for offences under the Act.

This reform will consider whether some of these tools can be enhanced to increase their effectiveness in reducing harm, including:

Expanding the use of barring notices to reduce alcohol-related violence that occurs beyond the vicinity of licensed premises. For example, people who commit family or domestic violence away from a licensed premises.

  • Ensuring penalties are relevant, modern and rapidly address breaches to protect the community from harm and increase compliance. For example, penalties for supplying liquor to an intoxicated person or a juvenile. (Penalties will be reviewed in consultation with the Department of Justice).
  • Providing inspectors with power to impose lower-level penalties and sanctions, to more rapidly address complaints and non-compliance.
  • Reviewing administrative sanctions for suspension and cancellation of licences.

More information

More detail on the reforms will be made available via newsletters, surveys and the public consultation paper, The Next Chapter of WA's Liquor Laws — have your say.

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The Next Chapter of WA's Liquor Laws — have your say cover

The Next Chapter of WA’s Liquor Laws

Discussion paper
Have your say

Have your say

DLGSC is interested in hearing from you. You can have your say on our proposed reform ideas and provide us with new reform ideas by:

Submissions close 4pm Tuesday 31 January 2023. 

DLGSC will consult throughout the process. If you would like to be added to our distribution list, please sign up for notifications.

Surveys

You can also provide your feedback and reform ideas by completing one of our surveys. Please follow the links to complete the survey that is best suited to you: 

Submissions close 4pm Tuesday 31 January 2023. 

Contact us

Email liquorreform@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 18 November 2022