Public interest test

All applications for a liquor licence must satisfy the public interest test to ensure that they are granted on the basis that they are in the best interests of the public and are consistent with the Liquor Control Act.

In determining each application, the licensing authority must consider a number of key public interest factors.

To satisfy the public interest test, the licensing authority may take into account:

  • The harm or ill-health that might be caused to people, or any group of people, due to the use of liquor.
  • Whether the amenity, quiet or good order of the locality in which the licensed premises or proposed licensed premises are, or are to be, situated might in some manner be lessened.
  • Whether offence, annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience might be caused to people who reside or work in the vicinity of the licensed premises or proposed licensed premises.
  • Any effect the granting of the application might have in relation to tourism, or community or cultural matters.
  • Any other matter stipulated in the Liquor Control Regulations 1988.

Each factor will have differing levels of relevance depending on the location of where the licensed premises will operate and to the type of licensed venue that the application relates. As a result, the licensing authority has wide discretion to determine what supportive documents and information may be used in satisfying the public interest test.

Because each community is different and has individual characteristics, flexibility exists within the test in order to consider the impact that each individual application will have on the relevant, surrounding community.

To satisfy the public interest test, an applicant will need to consider and find solutions to any negative impact that may be suffered by sections of their community through the operation of their licensed premises.

In this regard it is important to note that because each community is different, aspects of the public interest as outlined in the Director of Liquor Licensing's Policy – Public Interest Assessment may not be applicable to individual applications.

A form is available to assist applicants in the preparation of a PIA submission which sets out the criteria contained in the Director of Liquor Licensing’s Policy – Public Interest Assessment in a questionnaire format.

Different types of licence have varying levels of impact

Licensed premises such as hotels, nightclubs and liquor stores, generally have a greater impact on their surrounding communities than some of the other types of venues.

Therefore, the expectation is that applicants for these types of licences will be required to supply supporting information that covers a wider and more detailed scope of public interest issues than an application for a restaurant, producer or some of the special facility sub-categories.

Related policy

Page reviewed 06 June 2019