Liquor carriage limits

‘Sly grogging’ is the practice of transporting large quantities of liquor to remote areas of the State, often in areas where liquor restrictions are in place, or in ‘dry communities’, and illegally selling that liquor to vulnerable members of the community.

As a strategy to reduce sly grogging, the Liquor Control Act 1988 was amended to insert new provisions that make it an offence for a person to carry large quantities of liquor, in prescribed areas of the State. In addition, the Act was amended to allow police officers to immediately dispose of liquor that is seized from a person who is contravening the new provisions.

The Minister for Racing and Gaming determined that carriage limits would initially be prescribed for the Kimberley region of Western Australia which includes the towns of Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham. The carriage limits apply in the towns and in the area within 20km of the boundaries of those towns, as well as the area within 5km of a remote Aboriginal community that is subject to regulations under section 175(1a) of the Act (dry communities).

The carriage limits are based on the existing restrictions, imposed by the Director of Liquor Licensing under section 64 of the Act and are in place until revoked by the Director, or when the State of Emergency declaration is no longer in place.

Currently, the maximum permitted quantities of packaged liquor that can be purchased are:

  • 1 carton of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits; or
  • 3 bottles of wine; or
  • 1 litre of spirits; or
  • 1 litre of fortified wine; or
  • a combination of any two of (a), (b), (c) or (d), but not a combination of two of the same products.

The regulations allow for customers to carry a combination of two products as listed above in a vehicle.

Type of liquorQuantity of liquor
If carried on its own or with 1 other kind of liquorIf carried with 2 or more other kinds of liquor
Beer (2.7% to 7%)1 carton (11.25 litres) 0 litres
Cider (2.7% to 7%)1 carton (11.25 litres) 0 litres
Pre-mixed spirits and other liquor (2.7% to 7%)1 carton (11.25 litres) 0 litres
Wine (7% to 15%)3 bottles (2.25 litres) 0 litres
Fortified wine (greater than 15%)1 litre0 litres
Spirits and other liquor (greater than 15%)1 litre0 litres

A vehicle includes motor vehicles, ships, trains or aircraft and trailers, semi-trailers or caravans attached to a vehicle.

The calculation of the quantity of liquor in a vehicle will be based on adult occupants of a vehicle. The regulations allow a maximum of five quantities of liquor to be carried in a vehicle if five adult occupants are in a vehicle. This means that if a vehicle can carry 6 passengers or more, the maximum quantity of liquor that can be carried in a vehicle is five times the limits listed above.

A defence applies for liquor being carried for the purpose of a lawful sale or in prescribed circumstances and exemptions apply to tourists, pastoralists, station owners and operators of remote work sites. Exemptions also apply to vehicles operated by licensees and police officers in the course of duty.

The prescribed penalty for a person who carries a quantity of liquor that exceeds the prescribed quantity is a fine of $10,000. A magistrate hearing a matter relating to a breach of this provision, will have the discretion to impose a penalty of up to $10,000.

The enforcement of the regulations will be undertaken by WA Police.

Page reviewed 24 September 2021