Liquor and Gaming NSW > Liquor > Liquor licences > Which licence do I need?

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Limited licence – special event

This licence is for temporary and infrequent events that have a direct and significant social or economic benefit to the community at a regional, state, or national level.

The Limited Licence - special event will be granted if your event qualifies as a special event under the Liquor Act 2007. It allows you to sell or supply alcohol at a venue that doesn't hold a liquor licence, as long as selling and supplying alcohol is not the sole reason for holding the event.

Special events that have qualified in the past are:

  • an annual 4-day regional arts and music festival
  • a World Cup/World Championship sports competition
  • a music festival held in the Domain and expected to attract more than 25,000 people, including interstate, national and international guests.

Large-scale commercial event

From 1 September 2018, if you are holding a special event that is open to the public and has an anticipated patron capacity of 2,000 or more, you must lodge application form APP541: Large scale commercial event – Limited licence special event (PDF, 536KB). 

Ensure this application is lodged at least 28 days before the function date to avoid a late fee charge. Consult the Liquor Fee Schedule for application and late fee charges. 

Under 18s

There is no restriction on under 18’s being present at a special event held under a limited licence. L&GNSW may consider imposing restrictions for those aged under 18 years, particularly to minimise exposure to bar areas and potential problems at large events.

 Qualifying for the licence

​To qualify for this licence type, you must provide evidence showing how the special event will have a significant benefit on the community either socially or economically, at a regional, state or national level.

A range of factors are considered as part of the assessment process, and every application is assessed on its individual merits. 

Some or all of the following factors will be relevant: 

Location and size of event

  • what are the characteristics and population of the region in which the proposed event will take place? 

  • what is the estimated number of people expected to attend the event, both daily - if held on more than one day, and in total? 

  • what is the estimated number of people from outside the region that will attend the event? This can include spectators or participants as well as suppliers, contractors, event staff and tourist operators. 

Note: when assessing whether an event qualifies as a special event, the size of the event is relative to the region’s population. 

For example: a small number of attendees in a small town may have a more significant impact than a larger number of people attending a similar event in a large city.

Other benefits 

  • what demand will the event create on businesses in the region? Including the need for goods and services including food, accommodation, transport and tourism

  • what other benefits will flow to businesses in the region as a result of the event? Including local sponsors obtaining exposure and promotion of their brand

  • what is the estimated economic benefit of the event, in dollars, to the region, state or nation? This can include the event budget

  • what is the social benefit to the relevant community - regional, state or national? This can include significant fundraising for charitable causes within the region or promotion of other valuable social or cultural events

Support for the event 

  • is the event supported or promoted by a tourist body, the local consent authority / council, a cultural institution, industry representative body or a government agency like Destination NSW? 

  • is media coverage of the event expected (before and during the event)?

  • is there an event website and other significant advertising? 

  • will any dignitaries, celebrities or other prominent people attend the event? 

Supervising the event

  • how will the proposed licensed area be physically defined?
  • How will access be controlled to prevent liquor being brought into or taken away from the proposed licensed area?
  • how will you ensure responsible service of alcohol practices are observed, and intoxication prevented?
  • will liquor be available throughout the proposed licensed area or only in one specific area? Describe the number and location of bars or selling points.
  • is there an event management plan in place, with particular references to the management of liquor and security?
  • how will patrons be supervised?
  • will security officers be engaged for the duration of the event?
  • how will local police be consulted in relation to the event?
  • if entertainment is to be provided, describe the nature of that entertainment.
  • describe the type and quantity of food available throughout the event.
  • describe the availability of sanitary facilities and first aid services at the event.

Other relevant considerations 

  • have you considered alternative licensing arrangements for the event, such as using a licensed caterer or engaging a local hotel licensee under a Function On Other Premises Authorisation? 
    If these options are not appropriate for your event, you must explain why in your application. 

    Note: Some events unlikely to be approved as special events include large private functions, a town’s annual show or race meeting, and other fundraising or charitable events run by a person acting on behalf of a not for profit organisation. For these events, a Limited licence – single function would be more appropriate. 

  • why the provision of liquor an integral part of the event? 

  • has the event run previously? If so, provide details of the event as well as any liquor licence numbers previously issued – if known.

 What you'll need

  • name and details about where and when the event will take place
  • explanation why another liquor licence isn't suited for the event
  • details of the  social and economic  benefits of the event for the community
  • a plan clearly showing the proposed boundaries for the licensed area and key features, including entry/exit points, bar areas, any adjoining streets and the direction North
  • details about what liquor, food, entertainment, sanitation and security will be at the event
  • if applicable, a copy of development consent or approval allowing the licence at your venue from your local council
  • proposed patron attendance
  • proposed liquor trading hours
  • details of the venue and business owner
  • contact details for you or a person authorised to submit your application
  • if applicable, a completed applicant declaration (TDEC5) (PDF, 177KB)
  • payment.

If applying as an individual you'll also need:

If you're applying as an organisation you'll also need:

  • ABN, ACN or Y/INC
  • the names and birthdates of all directors and officeholders (if it is a proprietary company)
  • a current Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) extract
  • inclusion of the appointment of manager notice (if applicable)
  • inclusion of the approved manager application (if applicable).

 RSA requirements for large-scale commercial events

​Large scale events are more likely to experience higher risks of alcohol-related violence or anti-social behaviour than smaller events.

2,000 + event attendees: applicants are required to have completed licensee RSA training. 

Trading after midnight: applicant is required to have completed advanced licensee RSA training.

L&GNSW may exempt an applicant from having to undertake the training if the completion of the course, or courses, is deemed unnecessary to reduce the risks of alcohol-related violence or anti-social behaviour at the event.

RSA training for event staff 

  • The licensee and everyone serving liquor will need to have completed an approved RSA course. This applies to those serving liquor in a voluntary capacity as well as any security officers with crowd control duties

  • All staff must carry a valid NSW RSA photo competency card, digital licence, or interim certificate while working.

Liquor can only be sold at a special event held under a limited licence when:

  • the licensee is present, or
  • a person nominated by the licensee is present to supervise the event during the temporary absence of the licensee

Sale of liquor

  • All liquor must be sold and supplied in opened containers, such as opened cans or bottles
  • Liquor may only be consumed at the event – it cannot be taken away.

 Trading hours

​Trading hours for a limited licence are determined by L&GNSW. They usually reflect the duration and type of function. Trading is not permitted between 3am and 6am.

Daily 6-hour closure period

A 6-hour closure period applies to all liquor licences, including those with extended trading hours. It usually starts at 4am and ends at 10am each day. 

You can apply to change the 6-hour closure period:

  • temporarily
  • permanently
  • to different times on different days of the week. 

In your application, you need to provide detail on:

  • the current and proposed hours of closure, and why the closing period should be changed 
  • the demonstrated or likely needs of patrons
  • the interests of the local community 
  • the opinion of local police on the proposal, if any
  • ways you will minimise harm associated with misuse and abuse of alcohol - including harm arising from violence and other anti-social behaviour
  • ways you will promote, sell and supply alcohol safely and responsibly
  • ways the proposal will not detract from the amenity of community life.
Resources

 Cost

Your application costs include:

  • an application fee
  • a non-refundable processing fee.

Use our Liquor Fee Schedule to calculate your fee.

 Apply

1. Lodge a notice: immediately before submitting your application, or within two working days, lodge the notice that is part of the application form, and a copy of the application, to:

  • the local police station
  • local council or other consent authority
  • any other local council or other consent authority if the boundary is within 500 metres of the premises
  • the Lands division of NSW Department of Primary Industries, if the premises are on Crown land.

2. Complete the application: include the notification in step 1 with your application.

  • Online: onegov.nsw.gov.au - online applications must be lodged at least 18 days prior to the date of the function/event
  • Paper-based: printable form (PDF, 536KB) - emailed applications must be lodged at least 28 days prior to the date of the function/event

Lodging your application online has several advantages:
You receive a 10% discount
The online form easier to complete
It speeds up processing time

Once your application is lodged, we will advertise it on the Liquor & and Gaming Application Noticeboard for 14 days where the community can comment on your application.

You must be 18 years or older and authorised to lodge this licence application.

 More information

We're here to help. 

Use our online feedback form to send us your questions, suggestions or feedback. You can also:

Access the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au