Since June 2013, Western Australian restaurateurs have been
finding it easier to apply for a licence to serve alcohol to
customers who haven't ordered a meal.
Prior to 2006, the Liquor Control Act 1988
(Act) restricted licensed restaurants to serving
alcohol only to customers along with a meal or, if customers
didn't order a meal, in a designated area that occupied less
than 20% of the seating capacity of the restaurant.
To liven up the Western Australian entertainment scene, the Act
was amended in 2006. These amendments included provisions allowing
for up to 100% of the available seating capacity of a restaurant to
be used for customers wishing to have a drink without a meal.
However, the efforts and costs involved in applying for this
kind of licence were often disproportionate to the return for
restaurants, and success was difficult to achieve. Applicants had
to submit a public interest assessment, supporting evidence in
favour of the grant and/or a section 40 certificate from the local
Recent amendments to the Liquor Control Regulations
1989 mean that licensed restaurants with a capacity of up to
120 people can now apply for an extended trading permit
(r.60(4)(ca) LCR). The extended trading permit replaces the
previous method of applying for the right to serve alcohol to
customers in any part of the restaurant. Even better: the
application process is much simpler than the previous method for
this kind of application. Restaurants intending to serve more than
120 customers are also able to apply for an extended trading
permit, but for those businesses the news is less good: the
previous tests, including the public interest test, are still
If granted, the extended trading permit continues to require
that the license holder is predominantly in the business of being a
restaurant serving food, and that the alcoholic beverage is served
to customers sitting at a table. However, it finally provides
licensed restaurants an inexpensive way to provide customers with a
service that they desire, without imposing a requirement to
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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