The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 allows local councils to develop local alcohol policies. A local alcohol policy (LAP) is a set of decisions made by a local authority in consultation with its community about the sale and supply of alcohol in its geographical area. Once a LAP is in place, licensing bodies must consider it when they make decisions about alcohol licensing applications.
LAPs are optional; local councils don't have to have one. If they want to, 2 or more local councils can develop a joint LAP.
By having a LAP, communities can:
A LAP can have different conditions for different areas within the council's district.
LAPs give local communities more input into licensing decisions. This means local outlets of national businesses (for example, supermarket chains) may have different opening hours or conditions depending on where they're located. For reasons of fairness, limits on the location and density of licences won't apply to businesses that were granted licences under the previous Act. However, those limits will apply to new licences issued for existing premises (for example, if a bar has a new owner who is applying for a licence).
If a local council decides to have a LAP, it must:
Only a person who made a submission on the draft LAP can appeal any element of the provisional policy. Police and Medical Officers of Health have statutory rights of appeal.
The appeal must be filed with the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority within 30 days of the public notification of the provisional policy.
The only ground for appealing an element of a provisional LAP is that it's unreasonable in light of the object of the Act. The Act’s object is that:
The provisional LAP can't come into effect until all appeals are resolved.
If a local council decides to change or replace its LAP, it must go through the same process it took to develop it. If it decides to revoke a LAP so that it no longer applies to the district, it must follow the special consultative procedure in the Local Government Act 2002(external link). A local council must also review its LAP every 6 years using the special consultative procedure in the Local Government Act 2002.
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