Liquor Licensing Print Email


Serving or Selling Liquor On Premises


For the majority of businesses in Australia, a liquor licence will be required to serve or sell alcohol at your venue. This is no different for Cinemas, whether you wish to sell from your concession stand, or provide complimentary beverages at a gala opening, with the most common cinema licence being the On Premises Licence.


ICA would like to assist our members in the often confusing and difficult process of applying for and obtain a Liquor Licence. Before you start this process, you should take note of:

  • Your Venue Requirements - Contact your state governing body about the specifics of your venue, including which type of licence to apply for and what forms you will be required to complete.
  • Processing times - We recommend applying well in advance of the time you wish to serve/sell alcohol, as processing times may be lengthy.
  • Licence Fees - You will need to pay a Liquor Licence Fee, which may be quite substantial.
  • Staff Qualifications - Your staff may be required to hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate or equivalent to serve/sell alcohol.
  • Signage - You will be required to present certain signage in your venue to various access points to indicate your Licence and restrictions.

Follow the links below for more detailed information, such as what type of license you need, costs, application timelines, sign requirements and more. Please note: this is only a guideline, we recommend contacting your State Government or Local council for further information.






The NSW liquor laws provide a broad and flexible framework to enable a liquor licence to be issued for a range of business and community activities. There are 7 types of liquor licence in NSW, with the On-Premises licence the most applicable to cinemas.


Sale of alcohol is permitted for consumption primarily on the premises, and for consumption off the premises if specifically allowed. Individual licence conditions imposed by Liquor & Gaming NSW will determine the type of business and alcohol sale, supply and consumption arrangements.


Please read the Liquor & Gaming NSW fact sheets Applying for a Liquor Licence which provides a summary of liquor licences, and information about what you need to include in your application as well as the application fee.


Liquor licence online application is available through the onegov portal see the first link above. On Premises licenses can range from $500-$700 and most are subject to the standard trading period, i.e. 5am to midnight Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 10pm on Sunday. Applications for extended trading hours are permitted.


In most cases for a new permanent liquor licence, the documents listed below must accompany the application. Please check the relevant liquor licence fact sheet and licence application form for more specific information.

·       Community Impact Statement (although cinemas are often exempt from providing this)

·       A copy of the council's development consent or approval

·       A scaled plan of the proposed licensed premises

·       A National Police Certificate (Criminal History Check)

·       The appropriate application fee.





Any person or organisation that intends to supply liquor in Victoria must apply for a licence. The type of licence required will depend on the type of applicant and how they wish to supply the liquor. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation apply for a liquor licence section contains all the details, kits and forms required to select and apply for a liquor licence.


If you are not sure about which licence or permit is right for you, see select your licence. In general cinemas may request an On-premises consumption, if you want to sell alcohol for consumption only on licensed premises and not for people to buy to take away. However, there are different on-premises licences depending on the type of business you conduct, the hours you wish to trade and the location of your licensed premises.


Licensed venues that supply alcohol for consumption onsite are required to provide free drinking water to their patrons. It will be left to the discretion of the licensee how water is supplied. Failure to supply free drinking water will attract substantial fines. To find out more about these conditions, see Free drinking water for patrons.





In most cases, you must have a liquor licence or permit to sell or supply liquor (alcohol) in Queensland. A liquor licence states where and when you are allowed to serve alcohol. Different licence types are available to suit different businesses or community organisations. Fees and legal obligations for liquor licences vary, depending on the type of business and licence.


If you are an existing liquor licensee, permits and licence variations are available if you want to change or extend the conditions of your licence. Permits are also available for non-proprietary organisations that want to serve alcohol temporarily or at a one-off event.


In Queensland, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) regulates liquor licence and permit applications. Liquor licences may take 4-6 months to be approved. If you're starting a business and want to serve alcohol, remember to account for this time in your planning, as it may influence when you can open your business.


You will need a subsidiary on-premises licence when selling liquor for on-premises consumption is a secondary function of your business. All liquor licensees must meet the criteria outlined in Guideline 07: Fit and proper or suitable person. Certain licence types require an individual licensee or an approved manager to be on site or reasonably available during ordinary trading hours and extended trading hours.


In some cases individual applicants (and/or an individual as approved manager) must attend mandatory responsible management of licensed venues (RMLV) training.


See the OLGR’s application guide for further information.






The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor is responsible for administering the Liquor Control Act 1988 and promoting the integrity and lawful liquor activities within Western Australia.


Seminars are run at the Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor for information about applying for a liquor licence. More information and registration for the seminars here.


All liquor licenses must be managed by an Approved Manager. The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor provides an online application guide as well as application kits to take you through the sometimes complicated process.


See the RGL’s application guide for further information.





Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is responsible for administering the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 in South Australia. The purpose of the Act is to regulate and control the sale, supply and consumption of liquor for the benefit of related industries and the South Australian public. 


CBS provides a great website with detailed information about the application process, various licenses available, fees and processing time.





There are five types of Liquor Licence in Tasmania, with the majority of cinemas requiring an On licence. An on licence authorises the sale of liquor for consumption on the licensed premises between 5 am and 12 midnight daily. This licence is usually issued to some nightclubs, bars and bar/restaurants.

If a licensee wishes to sell liquor for consumption off the licensed premises for specific occasions or events (such as street dining), he or she should apply for an off permit. An off permit will not be issued to authorise general liquor sales.


A liquor licence can only be held by a person who is at least 18 years old. Licences cannot be held by more than one person, companies or trusts. In considering an application for a licence or permit, the Commissioner for Licensing or the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission are required to take into account whether the application is, in their opinion, in the best interests of the community.

Applicants for liquor licences are required to undertake Responsible Service of Alcohol training.


See the TLGC’s application guide for further information.




Access Canberra is responsible for issuing liquor licences and permits with the ACT and performs regulatory functions under the Liquor Act 2010 (the Act).




The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation handles liquor licencing in the Northern Territory after the recent abolishment of the NT Licensing Commission.


Liquor consumption in the Northern Territory is well above the national average. Minimising risk is a high priority for government. Regional Alcohol Management Plans provide a framework for a range of alcohol measures, meaning there are different rules and regulations about liquor in different areas of the Territory.


From time to time, temporary liquor restrictions may also be put in place for local circumstances. The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation works with industry and licensees to these liquor restrictions, and with the government and community to develop alcohol management policies for the whole of the Territory.


Standard conditions also apply to the person appointed as nominee (manager) of licensed premises. Download the application forms and the police history check application form. Forms are also available at Territory Business Centres. At the time of initial application, a completed application form must be accompanied by the relevant fee. The nominee must successfully complete a responsible service of alcohol (RSA) course. 


Following submission of specified items of supporting information, the applicant is required to advertise key aspects of the proposed licence in a local newspaper nominated by the Director-General of Licensing. A period of 30 days is then allowed for public comment and for continuing display of the notice of application, by means of a prominent sign on the premises proposed for licensing.


When all supporting information has been provided, relevant checks have been completed and the 30-day period has elapsed, the proposed licence goes before the Director-General of Licensing for decision.


The decision-making process may include a hearing. The licence applicant and any person with an objection may choose to be legally represented. When determining the application, the Director-General considers the needs and wishes of the community.


See the application guide for further information.