Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Dr Tony Buti BPE DipEd MIR LLB DPhil MLA

Hon Dr Tony Buti BPE DipEd MIR LLB DPhil MLA

Minister for Finance; Racing and Gaming; Aboriginal Affairs; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests

    Small bars celebrate 15 years as liquor reforms look to raise the bar

    17/11/2022 11:15 AM
    • Small bar liquor licence category celebrates 15 years
    • 131 new small bars have opened across Western Australia in the past five years
    • McGowan Government consulting with industry on further liquor law reforms
    • Consultation launch delivers election commitment to review liquor legislation

    Western Australia's small bars - which transformed laneways, activated entertainment precincts, and gave rise to a more sophisticated drinking culture - have celebrated their 15th year.


    In late 2007 - following then Racing and Gaming Minister Mark McGowan's reforms - the first small bar liquor licence was granted, kicking off an evolution of WA's hospitality scene. 


    Among the first to receive a small bar licence was Helvetica - one of Perth's original laneway bars - which remains a staple for Perth bar-goers to this day.


    In just 15 years the number of small bars in WA has risen to 241, almost half of which opened in the past five years.


    Further reforms to liquor laws were introduced in 2018, which cut red tape and meant the cultural and tourism value of venues could be considered in determining liquor licence applications.


    Following a challenging period for the hospitality scene, the McGowan Government is today launching an industry consultation to investigate further improvements to WA's liquor laws.


    A range of potential improvements will be considered, including eliminating unnecessary red tape, a simpler licensing system, and a faster, more cost-effective approvals process. 


    Examples of proposals include revisiting meal requirements under certain licence categories, reviewing restrictions on certain drinks under licence categories, and examining whether trading hour restrictions remain fit for purpose.


    The reform program is being administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries with extensive consultation taking place over the next few months.


    The preliminary consultation phase will help guide the development of detailed reform options for a formal consultation process during 2023.


    Stakeholders are encouraged to have their say on the future of WA's liquor laws at https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/liquorreform.


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "The liquor reforms in 2006 gave rise to the 241 small bars that locals and visitors across Western Australia enjoy today.


    "The result has been a more diverse, more sophisticated, and more creative hospitality sector in Western Australia - supporting local jobs right across the State.


    "Our local bar scene continues to evolve, and we want to ensure our liquor laws and regulations adapt with the times.


    "As we celebrate 15 years of small bars in Western Australia, I welcome the launch of consultation to see how we can build on that success."


    Comments attributed to Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti:


    "The growth of small bars over the past 15 years has been a joy to experience, and is a key example of a no-cost reform that has resulted in ongoing economic and social benefits.


    "Western Australia should be exceptionally proud of its growing hospitality sector, which has emerged from a tough few years.


    "I have listened to feedback from industry - this review will be a way to formalise the ideas I've heard to see what we can do to make it easier to do business.


    "The challenge will be to balance the needs of the State's tourism, hospitality, and liquor industries with our objectives to foster a safe drinking culture.


    "Feedback is essential to help make these important decisions about the future of the liquor industry."


    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Racing and Gaming Minister's office - 6552 6400