To succeed as an applicant for a new licence the following aspects are critical:
- appropriate zoning/local authority approvals;
- compliance with licensing authority formalities;
- addressing all aspects of the public interest assessment and other policies; and
- proving the need or requirement for the licence.
Increasingly applications are being refused because applicants are relying on their own judgment of the market place and fail to produce independent supporting evidence of need or requirement for the proposal. This has been the continuing trend in decisions of the licensing authority over the last 12 – 18 months. The most recent published decisions clearly confirm this position.
In January 2011 the Director of Liquor Licensing granted liquor stores for Mullaloo IGA plus Liquor and Rivervale IGA plus Liquor despite opposition from residents and a licensee. The Director found in both cases that the submissions and evidence presented in support of each application not only outweighed the objectors’ cases but also demonstrated that the grants were in the public interest.
The importance of presenting a strong case at first instance was most recently confirmed by the Liquor Commission in the matter of an application for a special facility licence in Mandurah to be known as Harry O’s. The application was unsuccessful first time around before the Director and then again on review before the Commission. The applicant was unable to supplement the application with additional material on review because of the legislative restriction from doing so. The Commission confirmed the position previously established that the obligation is on the applicant to prove its case. No matter how flexible and accommodating the current liquor licensing regime may be, it does not extend to giving advice or direction to applicants to improve on their case presentation.
These and other decisions highlight the need for applicants to submit thorough, well prepared and detailed proposals which are supported by appropriate credible objective evidence. Without proof of the need or requirement for the licence they will fail. With it, applications may be successful despite strong opposition.
For information regarding this Snapshot or other liquor licensing matters please contact Dan Mossenson, Partner on (08) 9288 6769 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica Patterson, Partner on (08) 9288 6946 / email@example.com.