Guide for new liquor licensees

Congratulations on receiving your new Queensland liquor licence. The following information will help you meet your obligations and responsibilities and avoid common mistakes that can lead to breaches of your liquor licence conditions and the Liquor Act 1992.

Video transcript

Make sure you read your licence document carefully and contact us if you're unsure about something.

We have included an example licence to help you understand it and the terms used. Your licence may have different conditions.

If you also have a gaming licence, make sure you read about gaming licensing, compliance and regulation in Queensland.

Access the OLGR client portal

You can use the OLGR client portal to pay your annual fees, change your contact details and lodge certain applications.

You should have received an access key in the letter we sent you with your licence. Use the access key to create your personal account the first time you log on.

You must keep your licence document on the premises and produce it to an OLGR investigator or police officer, if requested.

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) and the Queensland Police Service can ask to see your liquor licence under the Liquor Act 1992.

You should be familiar with and understand your licence conditions. You must comply with them, or you'll be committing an offence under the Liquor Act 1992.

Read about what OLGR compliance officers will be checking when they inspect your premises.

We may take enforcement action for breaches, including formal written warnings, penalty infringement notices, prosecutions or disciplinary action.

View an example licence for an explanation of the terms used.

Complete the compliance checklist to make sure you're meeting your legal obligations.

Comply with gaming licence conditions

Some liquor licensees also have a gaming machine licence. If this applies to you, read more about complying with gaming machine licence conditions.

You must display signage about your licence in an obvious place outside your premises (e.g. on a wall at the entrance).

You must also display signage to notify patrons:

  • an approved Risk assessed management plan (RAMP) is available for inspection (if you're required to have one)
  • of your privacy policy, if your venue is a regulated premises for ID scanning
  • that closed-circuit television (CCTV) equipment is in use (if applicable).

Read more about the signage you must display by law.

You must maintain a safe environment in and around your licensed premises. This includes complying with any licence conditions around security and CCTV and taking reasonable steps to ensure your operations and patrons don't disturb the amenity of the area.

Limit noise

It's your responsibility under the Liquor Act 1992 to ensure the noise from entertainment, patrons and equipment doesn't unreasonably impact the amenity of the area. You must also comply with any specific noise conditions on your liquor licence so you don't disturb other businesses or residents.

Comply with safety laws

Liquor licensees and managers must know and understand the range of laws that affect their business.

Workplace health and safety legislation requires business owners to provide a safe environment for employees. Under health and food hygiene laws, you must ensure appropriate food handling and cleaning of public areas, including toilet facilities.

Fire safety laws require you to ensure fire-fighting equipment is maintained, a fast and safe means of escape is provided and you have fire evacuation plans in case of emergencies.

A summary of the key safety legislation is provided below:

OLGR investigators can close your venue or require you to rectify safety issues if they find a significant health or safety threat.

Read more about acceptable practices and patron and staff safety.

Read more about security monitoring and CCTV.

You're legally responsible to ensure the way you promote or advertise alcohol doesn't encourage harmful alcohol consumption.

Under the advertising provisions of the Liquor Act 1992, only a restaurant with a subsidiary on-premises licence can externally advertise the sale price of liquor for consumption on the premises. Advertising of this nature is prohibited for all other licence/business types.

You also mustn't encourage rapid or excessive drinking or advertise the availability of free alcohol or discounted quantities of alcohol. These practices can cause harm and may lead to antisocial behaviour, which affects the whole community.

You can be fined or otherwise penalised under the Liquor Act 1992 if you breach the law.

Read more about responsible advertising and promotion of alcohol.

It is mandatory for liquor licensees (if individuals), approved managers and some permit holders to hold a current responsible management of licensed venues (RMLV) certificate.

Find out about RMLV training and approved RMLV training providers.

You need to ensure your staff are familiar with and understand the conditions of your liquor licence to minimise the risk of breaches.

Make sure staff selling or supplying liquor have completed responsible service of alcohol (RSA) training within 30 days of starting employment and they maintain a current RSA certificate while employed. This includes bartenders, glass collectors and floor and room service staff. It doesn't include volunteers in small clubs and people with a responsible management of licensed venues (RMLV) certificate.

Take RSA refresher courses.

Staff need to know the Liquor Act 1992 prohibits them from selling or supplying alcohol to:

  • minors (i.e. anyone under 18)
  • unduly intoxicated patrons
  • disorderly patrons.

It's a costly offence for licensees, approved managers and staff if non-exempt minors are found on the premises and even more costly if the minor is in possession of, or consuming, alcohol.

To minimise this risk, staff should check patrons' IDs if there's any doubt at all about whether the person is over 18. The practice of asking anyone who appears to be under 25 for ID will screen a wide group of people and include minors who may look older than they are.

Acceptable ID includes an adult or other recognised proof of age card, an Australian driver licence or permit, a passport, or a foreign driver licence.

Read more about ID scanning.

A licensee or approved manager must be on-site at the licensed venue, or reasonably available, during approved trading hours.

The requirements differ depending on the licence held and approved trading hours. Some exceptions to this requirement apply to certain venues considered to be of lower risk.

Read Guideline 43: Approved managers for more information about the exemptions and requirement to be on-site.

Ensure all local, state and Australian government approvals allowing you to conduct your business under the liquor licence conditions are maintained. For example, a development approval may require trading to cease at 10pm or specify there can't be amplified entertainment on the premises after a specific time.

Participation in a liquor accord is recommended. It demonstrates your commitment to minimising alcohol-related problems in your area.

Liquor accords bring together licensees, local businesses, community organisations and government agencies with a common interest in addressing local alcohol-related problems like:

  • anti-social behaviour
  • misuse of alcohol
  • crime and alcohol-related violence
  • safety concerns
  • concerns from neighbours about trading hours or excessive noise.

Members include liquor licensees and other stakeholders such as community groups, local councils and police.

SNP boards address late-night alcohol and community safety issues.

You must join a local SNP board (where one exists) if you operate a venue in a SNP (unless you're exempt).

Exempt licensees can still join and participate as a member of their local board.

If you trade after midnight in a safe night precinct (SNP), you may be required to operate an approved ID scanning system and follow the requirements for scanning IDs.

Exemptions from ID scanning include:

  • businesses trading after midnight under a temporary late-night extended hours permit
  • casinos or convention centres
  • restaurants
  • motels
  • community clubs.

You can opt into the scheme even if it's not mandatory under your particular licence.

Read more about ID scanning in licensed venues.

You'll need to meet additional requirements if you're allowed to trade after 1am in the Brisbane City Council (BCC) area. These include:

  • providing security
  • maintaining an incident register
  • installing CCTV
  • responsibly promoting happy hours
  • avoiding irresponsible drinking promotions (e.g. games and competitions).

Even if your venue is not in the BCC area, you may have similar obligations if your licence has conditions about security and CCTV.

Read more about your obligations when trading past 1am in the BCC area.

Use the OLGR client portal to pay your licence fees online.

Your licence fees are due annually and in advance for each new financial year. We will post you an invoice in late June for payment by no later than 31 July. We will also email you a reminder to check the client portal for your annual fee information. You may want to note the due date in your calendar.

Pro-rata licence fees are generally payable when you first get your licence. You would have received a fee notice with your licence document explaining how much you owe. To avoid your licence being suspended or cancelled, pay the pro-rata licence fee as soon as possible and no later than the due date on your notice.

Your liquor licence (and gaming licence, if you have one) will be suspended if your fees aren't paid on time. If your fees remain unpaid for 28 days after your licence(s) are suspended, the licence(s) will be cancelled. Further late or non-payment penalties may apply.

If you unsubscribe from OLGR emails, you may not receive your licence fee reminder. If you have unsubscribed in error, contact us.

Remember to tell us if your contact details have changed. We need your current email address to keep you informed about vital information (e.g. licence fees and changes to regulations).

Use the OLGR client portal to change your contact details.

You can apply to change your liquor licence to enhance your business. The most common changes include:

  • increasing or decreasing the size of your licensed area
  • extending trading hours
  • varying another condition of your licence, e.g. the permitted noise level
  • applying for an exemption from ID scanning in safe night precincts (SNPs).

Some of these changes will require you to pay additional fees.

Also consider…