Liquor licensing for 'wet areas'

'Wet areas' are designated by a local council to allow the consumption of alcohol in a public place, normally for particular occasions such as a wedding in a park.

If your business is planning an event, such as an outdoor wedding or festival in a public place, you will need to apply to the local council for wet area approval if people intend to drink.

How to apply for wet area approval

Apply to the local council if your business needs wet area approval for an event.

It is important to note that having an area declared 'wet' does not rule out the need for a liquor licence. If you intend to sell or supply liquor to others, such as at a festival or fete, you will also need to apply for a liquor licence or permit.

Ongoing wet areas

Usually permission is granted for a festival or one-off occasion rather than permanent wet area approval. However, the council may designate a certain public place as a wet area on an ongoing basis and nominate specific days and times when alcohol can be consumed.

If a council does designate an ongoing wet area (e.g. a park with barbecue facilities), it must advertise this decision in a local newspaper and signs must be erected to identify the park and specify the area, days and times for liquor consumption.

If, at a later date, the council wishes to repeal or amend the designation for the area it must follow the same procedures.

If the council amends or repeals a wet area and fails to advertise, and you consume alcohol there without knowing that it is no longer a wet area, you are not guilty of an offence.

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