Licensed premises to face tougher scrutiny

A recent report tabled in the Western Australian Parliament has stated that the licensing authority and Western Australian Police are not effectively monitoring or enforcing the responsible service of alcohol.  ‘Raising the Bar: Implementing key provisions of the Liquor Control Act in licensed premises’ was drafted by the Auditor General and tabled in Parliament on 23 March 2011.

This Snapshot is the first in a series which will focus on the key findings of the report and the likely implications for licensees.  Some of the key findings of the report include the following:

  • the licensing authority and the WA Police do not comprehensively collect information on the patterns and causes of incidents in and around licensed premises;

  • the WA Police do not record the amount of monitoring of licensed premises they undertake;

  • neither agency undertakes any significant level of monitoring as to whether alcohol is served responsibly in licensed premises;

  • licensees face little risk of enforcement by WA Police for serving or allowing a drunk person on licensed premises; and

  • the current fine of $1,000 does not adequately deter licensees from breaching the Act.

The report’s key findings will most likely increase the scrutiny the licensing authority and Police face in respect of its enforcement of the Act and monitoring of licensed premises.  The report’s damning findings will more than likely result in a significant increase in the number of the licensing authority staff and Police assigned to enforce the Act.  Licensees are likely to be confronted with an even more vigilant and proactive level of enforcement in coming months.

First barring notice charge

The tabling of the Auditor General’s report has coincided with the first barring notice charge being laid in Western Australia.  An Exmouth club manager has been charged for allowing her friend to remain in the club despite allegedly knowing that she had been barred from the premises.  The manager’s friend has also been charged under the Act.


Given the likely increase in scrutiny to be faced by licensees as a result of the report, it would be prudent for licensees to consider booking a friendly ‘Lawdit’ conducted by a senior member of the Lavan Legal liquor, hospitality and tourism team.  The confidential Lawdit service addresses key aspects of both the Liquor Control Act and licensing authority policies by focusing on day-to-day obligations and trading responsibilities in areas where there is most commonly non-compliance.

Should you be interested in a Lawdit please complete and return the attached form.

Should you have any queries about this article or the key findings of the report, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Mossenson, Partner on (08) 9288 6769 / or Jessica Patterson, Senior Associate on (08) 9288 6946 /

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.