The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (DRGL)
The state government regulatory body that issues liquor licences and carries out inspections of premises to ensure compliance and responsible service of alcohol. DRGL’s primary aim is to promote and maintain the integrity of lawful racing, gambling and liquor activities in Western Australia.
Western Australia's liquor laws are defined in the Liquor Control Act 1988, which regulates the sale, supply and consumption of liquor, the use of premises on which liquor is sold, and the services and facilities provided in conjunction with the sale of liquor.
For more information on DRGL’s role, visit the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor website.
For a summary on liquor licensing laws and other related matters, please refer to A Guide to Liquor Licensing in Western Australia 2009/10.
Liquor licence categories
The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor is able to approve 10 different categories of liquor licenses in Western Australia. Each licensed category varies in permitted trading hours and the manner in which liquor can be sold and supplied.
- Hotel / Tavern / Small Bar
- Liquor Store
- Special Facility Licence
- Occasional Liquor Licence
For an explanation on each type of liquor licence please visit the DRGL's website or contact the DRGL by phone (08) 9425 1888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying for a liquor licence
If you want to apply for a liquor licence, the City of Fremantle recommends you obtain a "Liquor application kit" from the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. There is a "Quick links" section on the DRGL's website that will redirect you to the appropriate 'liquor application kit'.
Complaints related to licensed premises
Section 117 of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act) provides for a complaint to be lodged against a licensee if the noise coming from, or the behaviour of patrons at, a
licensed premises is affecting the people residing in or attending premises such as a school or hospital in the neighbourhood.
To lodge a complaint to the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor in relation to the activities at a licensed premises please refer to the fact sheet on the DRGL's website titled 'complaints related to licensed premise'. The section 117 complaint form is attached to this fact sheet.
Small bar licences
A strategic objective of the City of Fremantle is to promote and encourage small business including small bars.
Under a small bar licence, the licensee is authorised to sell and supply liquor for consumption on the licensed premises only. The maximum capacity of a small bar is 120 persons at any one time. It may be less than 120 patrons if floor area, exits or toilet facilities are limited.
If you wish to open a small bar in the City of Fremantle, you will need to consult with the City’s planning department to determine if a small bar is an approved land use under the Local Planning Scheme.
To lodge your liquor licence application, you must complete and submit a "Notice of application for licence" form to the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. This form can be found within the application kit for a hotel, hotel restricted, tavern or small bar licence
The role of local government
The City of Fremantle's Local Planning Scheme is an important tool that, along with the Liquor Control Act, shapes the community's liquor environment.
An application for a liquor licence can't be approved by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor if local government planning and health approval has not been granted.
A liquor licence applicant is required to obtain a Section 40 certificate from the City of Fremantle's Planning department demonstrating compliance with:
the Local Planning Scheme and other planning laws.
A liquor licence applicant is required to obtain a Section 39 certificate from the City of Fremantle's Environmental Health department demonstrating compliance with:
- the Health Act;
- the Local Government Act;
- the Food Act;
- the Building Act; and
- any other written law relating to sewerage and drainage.
To demonstrate compliance with these laws it is recommended that the applicant submits a copy of their House Policy, Code of Conduct and Management Plan to the City of Fremantle's Environmental Health department. It may be necessary to submit a report prepared by an acoustic engineer that demonstrates compliance with maximum noise levels permitted under the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations.
Section 39 and 40 certificates apply to:
- the granting or removal of a licence;
- the altering or redefinition of a venue;
- an application for an alfresco area; and
- applications for 'liquor without a meal' permits.
Application forms for Certificates of Local Health Authority (Section 39) and Local Planning Authority (Section 40) are available here:
Fremantle Liquor Accord
The Fremantle Liquor Accord was launched in March 1996 as a key strategy of the City’s Crime prevention plan to address alcohol related crime. It comprises the Western Australian Police Service, local licensees, Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor, Local Government and other relevant agencies.
The Fremantle Accord 2000 and beyond provides information about proactive measures that continue to be implemented to reduce alcohol-related disruption, damage and harm in Fremantle.
The aim of this liquor accord is to:
1 ensure and maintain responsible service of alcohol in the liquor industry;
2 provide a safe environment for patrons both from and visiting Fremantle; and
3 facilitate a professional relationship of respect betwen licensees, police and the community.