The state government want new liquor laws which would loosen restrictions for restaurants and tourism operators along with tighter controls for “liquor barns.”
Under the changes, Tourism WA will be able to put forward a submission regarding the tourism benefits of any application - creating more balance in the consideration of licences.
In addition, a new category will be added to the public interest assessment to allow venues’ tourism, community and cultural benefits to be considered as part of a licence application.
Licensed restaurants with a capacity of 120 people or less will be able to serve alcohol without a meal and customers could take home an unfinished bottle of wine from a small bar or tavern.
The Liquor Control Act will be amended so the licensing authority declines applications if a proposed liquor store is bigger than a prescribed size and located within a set distance from another large outlet.
The changes will also prevent an application for a liquor outlet to be granted if it can already be met by existing businesses in the locality.
The provisions will also apply to any licence that authorises the sale of packaged liquor to the public in a retail setting including liquor stores, hotels, taverns and some special facility licences.
Applications to alter a licensed premises where a licensee is seeking to increase the area where packaged liquor is sold will also be subject to the new provisions.
Premier Mark McGowan said the state government was getting on with the job by introducing these reforms to cut red tape and bring in a more common-sense approach to liquor licensing.
“I want to encourage more vibrancy in our hospitality industry and make it easier for local businesses to do business,” he said.
Tourism and Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said they knew the impact liquor barns could have on the community and the government was committed to encouraging responsible attitudes.
“Currently almost every suburb in WA is inundated with liquor stores selling packaged liquor,” he said.