Liquor Licensing

What is a Liquor Licence?

A Liquor Licence is a permit to legally sell and serve alcohol to patrons. Liquor licences are issued by the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority, pursuant to the provisions of the Liquor Act 2007 and Liquor Regulations 2008.


What are the Liquor Licensing laws?

On the 1 July 2008 new liquor licensing laws came into force in NSW.

These laws recognise the importance of minimising alcohol-related harm, and the social and cultural role played by responsible alcohol use.

As part of these laws, all those involved in the liquor industry should:

  • Regulate and control the sale, supply and consumption of liquor in a way that is consistent with the expectations, needs and aspirations of the community;
  • facilitate the balanced development, in the public interest, of the liquor industry through a flexible and practical system of regulation with minimal formality and technicality; and
  • contribute to the responsible development of related industries such as the live music, entertainment, tourism and hospitality industries.

The Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority (CLGCA) is the new independent body responsible for determining liquor and gaming licence applications, alterations to licences such as extensions of trading hours, and disciplinary matters.

Anyone can make submissions to the Authority. In disciplinary matters, the Authority will be responsible for imposing penalties and suspending or cancelling licences. Reviews of any of the Authority's disciplinary decisions will be determined by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

The implications of the new laws for North Sydney Council have been addressed in a report to Council on the 14 July 2008.  A copy of this report is available: Report to Council - PD02 Small Bars Bill (2MB).


Is Development Consent required if I apply for a liquor licence?

The need to obtain development consent or not will depend on what is being proposed in connection with the obtaining of a liquor licence.

Development consent is required if any of the following are proposed:

  • The change of use to or construction of a new restaurant, café, hotel, pub, club, function centre or the like;
  • the existing business seeks to alter its approved hours of operation, or to vary any conditions of a previous development consent;
  • where an existing restaurant or café also seeks to become a "wine bar" (where the primary activity is the sale of liquor) within its existing approved operating hours, as this constitutes a "change of use".

Development consent is not required if an existing restaurant or café seeks to obtain a liquor licence (an "on-premise licence" where the primary activity is the sale of food) but only if it is operating within its existing consent conditions (i.e. no changes to patron numbers, or hours of operation). 


Are there any Council controls relating to Liquor Licensing?

Where a proposal requires development consent as outlined above, all applications will be assessed under the provisions of North Sydney LEP 2001 and North Sydney DCP 2002 and merit considerations under Section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

Both the LEP and DCP are generally silent with respect to the control of the operation of premises which have liquor licences, other than the requirement to minimise impacts on residential amenity.

Council is currently in the process of preparing a new section to North Sydney DCP 2002 to control the hours of operation, the location of premises and the implementation of management plans for licensed premises, as well as other premises which are likely to have an adverse impact on residential amenity at night. It is anticipated that the Draft DCP amendment will be placed on exhibition in late 2008 on our website - LEP & DCP Planning Review 2008.

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