Effective date: 11 March 2010 Last amended: 16 April 2020 Next review: April 2022
This guideline is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director of Liquor Licensing is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is
provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the possible content of public interest assessment submissions and the issues that an applicant should consider, including the reports decision makers may have regard to in forming their decisions
(Attachment 1). This document should also be read in conjunction with:
In accordance with section 38 of the Act, the licensing authority is required to assess whether the granting of an application is in the public interest.
The public interest test is based on the principle that licensed premises must operate within the interests of the local community. The Butterworth’s Australian Legal Dictionary defines the term ‘public interest’ as:
‘an interest in common to the public at large or a significant portion of the public and which may, or may not involve the personal or propriety rights of individual people’The public interest provisions enable the licensing authority to consider a broad range of issues specific to each licence or permit application, and flexibility exists to assess each individual application on its merits.
‘an interest in common to the public at large or a significant portion of the public and which may, or may not involve the personal or propriety rights of individual people’
The public interest provisions enable the licensing authority to consider a broad range of issues specific to each licence or permit application, and flexibility exists to assess each individual application on its merits.
There is no general template that exists for, or that can be applied to, all applications because each community is different and has individual characteristics. Similarly, each licensee’s business or proposed manner of trade is unique to the particular
premises. A PIA outlines how the premises/proposed premises will impact the community and provide an outline of how the applicant will manage any impact.
Section 31 of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (‘the Act’) provides the licensing authority with the discretion to grant licences.
Under section 33(1) ‘the licensing authority has an absolute discretion to grant or refuse an application…on any grounds, or for any reason, that the licensing authority considers in the public interest.’
In considering the public interest, the licensing authority will take into account, the objects of the Act as provided in section 5 and for certain applications the matters set out in section 38(4).
With respect to section 38 of the Act, sub section 2 requires applicants, for certain applications, to satisfy the licensing authority that the application is in the public interest. In this regard, applicants will be required to lodge a PIA with the
The requirements of a PIA will apply to:
Where an applicant is lodging an application for an extended trading permit for ongoing extended hours at the same time as an application for the grant of a licence, separate PIAs must be lodged for each application as the information and evidence in
support of the extended trading permit will be different to that of the grant.
As stated previously, the licensing authority will take into account the objects of the Act as provided in section 5 and the matters set out in section 38(4):
The primary objects of the Act are:
The secondary objects of the Act are:
Section 38(4) of the Act provides that the matters the licensing authority may have regard to in determining whether the granting of an application is in the public interest include:
A PIA assists the licensing authority in assessing the impact of the application, if granted, on the community, including existing services and amenity. Completing the PIA should be part of an applicant’s business planning (conducting market research,
feasibility studies etc). It is also a valuable document for informing the community about the proposed manner of trade. It is important to note that there is no requirement in the Act for PIAs to be prepared by legal counsel or industry consultants.
Applicants can either complete a Form 2A or prepare a PIA submission by following the guidelines contained within this policy and by taking a common-sense approach to their submission, where applicable, after liaising with the relevant key stakeholders
and interest groups in the community.
It is important to note, however, that because each community is different, the level of detail required in a PIA will be different for individual applications. In this regard, the required level of detail is subject to the complexity of the application
and the impact the premises/proposed premises will have on the surrounding community.
While it is up to the applicant to determine how much information to include in a PIA, precedent decisions of the Liquor Commission suggest the PIA must be supported by objective evidence. Assumptions, opinions, speculation and generalised statements
alone will not demonstrate that the application is in the public interest. Applicants should ensure that they provide sufficient supporting evidence that is objective, accurate and relevant to their application.
In decision [LC51/2011] the Commission stated: ‘…an Applicant must present supporting evidence at the appropriate level to satisfy the Commission that there is a real and demonstrable consumer requirement to justify the granting of the licence…Information
that would be probative to the Commission includes market surveys, petitions of substance and information that demonstrates a real consumer requirement.’
Evidence to support an application being in the public interest may include, but is not limited to:
of consumers having a requirement for the type of liquor to be sold and supplied under the licence sought.
As part of a PIA submission, applicants must provide details regarding the community in the vicinity of the licensed premises (or proposed licensed premises) and any amenity issues in the locality.
Generally, the size of the locality will be that which is stipulated in ‘Specification of Locality’ at Attachment 2. However, depending on the nature of the application, the licensing authority may also determine a broader locality.
Where an applicant considers that the licensing authority's determination of the locality in accordance with the policy is not suitable having regard to its intended nature of business, the applicant may make submissions as to the appropriate size
of the locality to the specific nature of the proposed business.1
It should be noted however, that in terms of addressing objects 5(1)(b) and 5(1)(c) of the Act, an applicant may need to consider an area which is much broader than the ‘locality’ used for consideration of amenity issues. For example,
an application for a destination liquor store, which may draw its clientele from a large geographic area, would need to address 5(1)(b) and 5(1)(c) of the Act in a much broader context. The onus is on the applicant to satisfy the licensing authority
that the grant of the application is in the public interest and provide relevant evidence and submissions to discharge this onus. An applicant should address all relevant considerations under the Act, bearing in mind all the circumstances and
unique features of its particular application.
Applicants will be expected to lodge PIA submissions having regard to the matters outlined in sections 5, 36B and 38(4). In relation to sections 36B and 38(4), depending on the nature of the premises/proposed premises, the type of licence and its locality,
applicants need to address the following:
Applicants should note that sections 36B and 77A and regulations 9AA, 9AAA and 9AAB of the Liquor Control Regulations 1989 provide that an application will not be heard or determined by the licensing authority for the grant or removal of a licence if:
Further, section 36B of the Act states that the licensing authority must not grant an application for a packaged liquor outlet of any size unless it is satisfied that local packaged liquor requirements cannot reasonably be met by existing packaged
liquor premises in the locality in which the licensed premises are or will be situated.
In this regard, applications for the grant of a new packaged liquor outlet must include evidence and submissions demonstrating that existing packaged liquor outlets in the locality of the proposed packaged liquor premises cannot reasonably satisfy
the local packaged liquor requirements of the public.
When addressing harm or ill-health caused due to the use of liquor, applicants need to consider:
In regard to ‘at risk’ groups and sub-communities, there are a range of groups that may be more vulnerable to the impact of alcohol. Examples of these groups have been identified under the Drug and Alcohol Interagency Framework for
Western Australia 2011-2015 and may include:
This list is not exhaustive, and you are encouraged to consider other ‘at risk’ groups that may be present in the locality.
In regard to social health indicators, these may include (but not limited to) the:
In addressing social health indicators, applicants should also consider the proximity of the premises to bordering suburbs.
When addressing whether the amenity, quiet or good order of the locality might be lessened, applicants need to consider:
Applicants will also need to provide:
In premises design consideration should be given to the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). Information on CPTED can be obtained from the WA Planning Commission, The WA Office of Crime Prevention, and from the Australian
Institute of Criminology.
When considering the nature and character of a community, applicants need to address the community’s social profile in terms of:
When considering the positive and negative amenity issues in respect to the locality of the premises/proposed premises, applicants will need to consider:
If there are any high risk factors, potential harms, personal offence, annoyance or disturbance associated with the grant of the application, applicants must provide a Business Management Plan identifying the strategies the applicant intends to
implement to address these matters.
Strategies that could be implemented (but not limited to) to combat offence, disturbance or inconvenience may include:
The licensing authority has discretion to impose conditions on the licence or permit that has regard to the public interest, the objects of the Act and the information provided in the applicant’s PIA submission. For example, the Director may
impose a condition stating the maximum number of patrons that may be permitted on a licensed premises or any part of a licensed premises.
Applicants may wish to provide submissions in relation to how the grant of the licence/permit may make a positive contribution in relation to tourism, or community, or cultural matters.
Where a PIA or Form 2A (and supporting documentation specified in the relevant Department lodgement guide) is lodged in support of an application, the applicant may be required to make a copy of the PIA submission or Form 2A available for public inspection
at an address that has been specified in any letter drop or notice served to the parties. In addition, the licensing authority will make available on its website for the duration of the advertising period the applicant’s PIA.
PIAs are accessible from the department's website.
To assist applicants in preparing their submissions, the following sources of information including Attachment 1 may be useful:
Copies of these documents are not required to be lodged with the PIA.
Note: Some reports on the following pages may incur a cost to procure, it is important for applicants to note, that it is not obligatory to source a copy of these reports. As mentioned earlier, because each community is different, the level
of detail required in a PIA will be different for individual applications. In this regard, applicants should determine, based on the complexity of their application and the impact the premises/proposed premises will have on the surrounding community
whether to incur those reporting costs.
This list shows the current version of the various reports however, the Director will access updated amendments and editions as they are published.
Mental Health Commission website
National Drug Research Institute website
Supplementary information relating to Public Interest Assessments.
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance as to what will generally be applied when determining the ‘locality’ affected by an application under the Liquor Control Act 1988 (‘the Act’).
The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the terms:
as a surrounding district; nearness or closeness of place or relationship.
The following tables are a guide when determining the specified ‘locality’ to which an application relates.
Generally, the size of the locality will be that which is stipulated below. However, depending on the nature of the application, the licensing authority may also determine the locality outside the ‘Specification of Locality’
guide. Where an applicant considers that the locality set out in this policy is not suitable having regard to its intended nature of business, the applicant may make submissions as to the appropriate size of the locality
to the specific nature of the proposed business.
In regard to country cities, towns or communities, unless remotely located or the licensing authority determines otherwise, the locality is to be a radius of 3 km from the site of the intended business.
Where a premises/proposed premises is remotely located; that is, 200 km or beyond from the nearest town or country city, and more than 400 km from Perth, the applicant is to make a submission to the licensing authority regarding the
appropriate size of the locality to suit the intended nature of the business.
This locality definition will generally apply to any suburb located within 15 kms of the Perth CBD.
This locality definition will generally apply to any Perth metropolitan suburb located outside 15 km radius of the Perth CBD, but within the Metropolitan Region Scheme administered by the WA Planning Commission.
This policy is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director of Liquor Licensing is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information
is provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.