The Hospitality Messenger

Special Edition No.12

The Hospitality Messenger is very conscious of WA’s liquor, hospitality, event and tourism industries being hit hard by the current COVID-19 situation and is committed to providing as much support as possible.


Western Australia’s Phase 4 of COVID-19 related trading restrictions, that came into effect at the end of June 2020, have continued unchanged and that status seems likely at this stage to be maintained for some weeks yet. 

Phase 5, which will see some of the current restrictions lifted, has already been deferred and may possibly be deferred again given the outbreaks of infection in the Eastern States.

The Phase 4 holding pattern that has been in place in WA has enabled businesses to settle and enjoy some level of trade. But it remains temporary.  Whilst a more flexible Phase 5 is hopefully just around the corner, there is no statement of when Phase 5 will emerge or what it will involve and there is also no guarantee that previous restrictions won’t be re-introduced.  There is still uncertainty and nervousness all around.

Business owners and managers should not become complacent and should continue to closely monitor government announcements so as to be ready for further changes.

Licensees, have you obtained your refund yet?

Click here to access the information and online form to obtain a refund of 2020 annual licence fees.

Barrier to packaged liquor

Recent decisions of the Director of Liquor Licensing regarding packaged liquor highlight the difficulty in obtaining approval for any new take away outlet because of the current interpretation of the November 2019 amendments to the law.

Two clear things have emerged so far:

  1. Applicants have a very high hurdle to jump in proving the local packaged liquor outlets in the area cannot reasonably satisfy local packaged liquor requirements.
  2. The opportunity for licensee objectors has been much enhanced.  No longer is the involvement of an existing licensee in opposing a new packaged outlet significantly tainted because of an obvious private interest in trying to stop a proposed additional, competing outlet in its catchment.

Help is here!

We at Lavan know that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused economic hardship and a variety of other problems for people in the liquor, hospitality, tourism and event industries. If your business has a legal problem, then we are pleased to offer, as a goodwill gesture towards the sector and readers of The Hospitality Messenger, an initial no-cost no-obligation 30-minute discussion with someone in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team.  The discussion will try to identify options you may have to resolve an issue. Please contact us on the details below if you would like to arrange to take up this offer.


In July 2020 the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey was released.  It throws some interesting light on liquor use in Australia.  Some of the facts that emerged include the following:

  • More Australians between 2016 and 2019 gave up alcohol.
  • Alcohol is the most used drug in Australia.
  • 4.5 million people were victims of alcohol-related incidents last year.
  • Between 2001 and 2019 the proportion of young people who drank at risky levels fell.
  • One in eight Australians 70 years and over drank daily.
  • People living furthest from major cities have higher proportions of risky drinking.
  • Fewer Indigenous Australians are drinking at risky levels.
  • Public support declined for measures to minimise harms from alcohol, such as reduced trading hours and strict monitoring of late night premises.

Regulatory Relief

The State Government has announced reforms to local government which are said to “improve services and reduce costs for small businesses, making it easier for new businesses to open or existing businesses seeking to expand”.

The State Government is developing an online one-stop shop for some approvals which should be available through the website from 1 January 2021.

This is encouraging news for existing and new businesses in the liquor hospitality, tourism and event industries, although it is not clear yet as to how they might be able to benefit from the reforms.

Click here to read the Government’s Media Release.




Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.