Consult residents about new pubs: review

AHA chief Bradley Woods.

Applicants for new hotel, tavern, nightclub or liquor store licences would be required to prepare "community impact statements" after consultations with local residents and other stakeholders under changes recommended by the independent liquor review.

The proposal is based on NSW's licensing model and comes in response to what the committee calls "a definite call for greater community engagement in the licensing process".

The review calls for a new submissions system, which would allow residents and other stakeholders to lodge submissions in support of a new licence application, as well as opposition.

At present, the liquor licensing system only provides for objections to be lodged.

"The intention behind the requirement for the community impact statement is to front-end load the consultation process so delays do not occur once the application has been submitted," the review says.

"While further work will be required at the earlier stages of the development of proposals, it is anticipated efficiencies will be gained once the application has been lodged."

Although the review's terms of reference limited it to considering the Liquor Control Act, it said work needed to be done with the WA Local Government Association to improve "parallel processing" of applications for new licensed premises through both the liquor licensing and town planning jurisdictions as "a matter of priority".

But it knocked back calls for "deemed approval" if the director of licensing or Liquor Commission failed to deal with applications within a specified time frame, instead calling on the licensing authority to develop key performance indicators to speed up its processing of applications.

"Because the regulation of the sale and supply of liquor is a public health matter, it would be inappropriate to recommend deemed approval provisions," the review said.

Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods, who is largely critical of the review, acknowledged there were "some benefits" for new applicants under its proposals.

"We're talking about the thousands of businesses that already work within the sector at the moment," he said.

"And that's where the review has failed to recognise the existing burden and the existing restrictions that are on operators of hospitality businesses."