Recommendations of the Auditor General's Report

Our 25 March 2011 Snapshot focused on the findings of the Auditor General’s Report into the implementation of the Liquor Control Act. This Snapshot follows on from that earlier publication and examines the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General as a result of its investigations into the liquor industry.

The Report largely focussed on the enforcement efforts of the WA Police and the licensing authority with respect to the responsible service of alcohol. One of the recommendations, which may have considerable impact on licensees, is that the licensing authority should require licensees and staff to undertake periodic refresher training to improve their understanding of their responsibilities under the Act.

Some of the other key recommendations were that the WA Police and licensing authority should:

  1. develop a joint system for tracking and planning the monitoring of licensed premises State-wide in response to a formalised risk analysis;
  2. develop a guideline to assist police, licensees, bar staff and security staff in the identification of drunk patrons;
  3. improve evidence-gathering to reliably show that a person was drunk while on licensed premises or when being served liquor;
  4. make greater use of all enforcement mechanisms under the Act (and not rely solely on infringement notices); and
  5. review the outcomes of fines and prosecutions, the collection of evidence and the preparation and prosecution of cases in order to improve success rates for enforcement.

These recommendations are important to licensees. It would seem that they are indicative of how the licensing authority potentially may approach enforcement and regulation of the liquor industry into the future. A possible example of this was the licensing authority publishing a guideline earlier this year, albeit dated December, to assist licensees and their staff to identify signs of intoxication. The guideline is currently available on the licensing authority’s website and would seem to be a direct response to recommendation two above.

The use of the term ‘formalised risk analysis’ may also suggest the development of a system similar to that being implemented in Queensland where venues that are deemed ‘high risk’ have various conditions imposed on their licences. The third recommendation above could also be the pre-curser to an increase in the use of section 95 complaints and/or the use of section 64 show cause notices as a means of enforcement. 

Should you have any queries about this article or the key recommendations of the report, please do not hesitate to contact partner Dan Mossenson on (08) 9288 6769 / or solicitor Alec Weston on (08) 9288 6873 /

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.