Liquor Commission

Liquor licence applications

For information and forms on how to apply for a liquor licence go to the Northern Territory Government website.

A range of applications can be made in relation to a liquor licence. These include the issue of a new liquor licence, variation to the conditions of a licence, substituting the licence from one premises to another, transferring the licence from one business to another, or making material alterations to the licenced premises.

When considering any kind of application relating to a liquor licence, the decision-maker is required to apply the public interest and community impact test set out in the Liquor Act 1978. In addition to this, the minister has issued community impact assessment guidelines under the Liquor Act 1978, which should also be considered when preparing your application.

Community impact assessment guidelines

Section 6 of the Liquor Act 1978 requires a decision maker to apply the public interest and community impact test in considering or determining an application under the Act.

In accordance with section 6A of the Act, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice publishes the following community impact assessment guidelines which are for applications made pursuant to sections 26, 32A(1), 41, 46A and 119 of the Act.

The guideline sets out those matters that will be considered by the Liquor Commission when assessing the community impact of the application against the criteria set out in section 6A(1) of the Act.

The rationale behind this is that section 6 of the Act states that the community impact test must to be applied to an application under this Act in respect of a licence or licensed premises.

Section 6 of the current Liquor Act 1978:

  1. Public interest and community impact test in respect of licence or licensed premises
    1. When a person (a decision maker) has regard to the objects of this Act in:
      1. considering or determining an application under this Act in respect of a licence or licensed premises, or
      2. determining the conditions of a licence, the decision-maker must apply the public interest and community impact test set out in subsection (2) as relevant to the application or conditions.

Section 6 clearly does not differentiate what sections or types of applications are excluded from this requirement, therefore all applications in respect of a licence or licensed premises is required to comply with this section and the community impact test. This includes section 41 relating to transfer of a liquor licence where the public interest criteria was applied under the previous legislation.

Section 6B of the Act requires the applicant to satisfy the commission that approval would meet the public interest and community impact test. Applicants are required to provide all documents, information and other materials that address the community impact assessment criteria.

It should be noted that the commission has the authority to consider a broad range of issues specific to each application and flexibility exists to assess each individual application on its merits.

There is no general submission template for applications as each community is different and has individual characteristics, as does each business or proposed manner of trade for each particular premises. Consequently, the level of detail provided to the commission is subject to the complexity of the application and the impact the premises / proposed premises will have on the surrounding community.

It is recommended that applicants discuss their application with the commission to determine what level of detail is expected and to discuss the definition of ‘community area’ for the purpose of their application.

While it is up to the applicant to determine how much information is provided to the commission, it should be noted that:

  • objective evidence is required
  • assumptions, opinions, speculation and generalised statements alone will not be sufficient, and
  • applicants should provide supporting evidence that is objective, accurate and relevant to their application.
Criteria Matters to be considered
The potential harm or health impacts that may be caused to people, or any group of people within the local community area, due to the availability and accessibility of an additional liquor outlet.

Are there any ‘at-risk’ groups or sub-communities within the locality? This may include:

  • children and young people
  • Aboriginal people normally resident within the locality and those Aboriginal people that might be likely to travel to the locality from a dry community
  • migrant groups from non-English speaking countries
  • people in low socio-economic areas, and / or
  • communities that experience high tourist / visitor numbers.

Are there any community buildings, facilities and areas within the locality? Such facilities would include:

  • schools and educational institutions
  • hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment centres
  • accommodation or refuges for young or disadvantaged people
  • child care centres
  • recreational areas
  • dry areas, and
  • any other area where young people may congregate or be attracted to.

What policies and procedures will the applicant implement to minimise any potential harm or health impacts to these ‘at-risk’ groups or sub-communities?

Information about the location and area in which the premises is proposed to be so as to assess any social impact on the community. This includes information about the density of licensed premises within the community area.

This may include crimes statistics, social profile information and the location of existing licensed premises.

This could also include traffic and pedestrian impacts and any plans developed to address these potential issues.


This may include projected sales volumes and marketing analysis, liquor type and customer demographic (where applicable this should be provided for both on and off premises sales).

The commission will consider information available to it about the current alcohol consumption rates for the community area.

Any cultural, recreational, employment or tourism benefits for the local community area. Will the proposed licensed premises provide economic benefits, cultural, recreational or tourism benefits or any additional employment opportunities and to what level?
Why the grant of a relevant application is in the public interest and how the additional liquor outlet will benefit the local and broader community.
  • What additional services will be provided other than simply an additional outlet for the sale of liquor - this may include accommodation or dining?
  • Will the proposed licensed premises provide additional choices of service or products that are not available in the area?
  • Will the proposed premises provide liquor in a manner known to be safe and to minimise adverse impacts?
  • Will it use existing premises, improve or add to existing premises or is it a new premises?

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Last updated: 29 December 2020

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