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Planning an event? Here’s what you need to know now

This article originally appeared in Queensland Bowler magazine, September 2018 edition

There are many reasons why a bowls club might hold an event, including for fundraising, charity, publicity or annual tradition. It is now becoming more common for clubs to utilise their space by hosting community markets or opening a pop-up bar somewhere on the premises not usually used for that purpose, such as a carpark or beside a bowls green.

A successful event will require many hours of effort and planning by the club management and members. We can take a load off by giving you some tips about applying for a liquor permit, so you can focus on the rest:

1. Plan ahead

Bowls clubs may apply for a permit to sell liquor for a specific 'one-off' event, whether or not they already hold a liquor licence. However, the process may vary slightly depending on where the event is held and any existing liquor licences relating to that area.

If a club plans to hold an event where liquor will be sold, it must obtain a permit from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR). The permit required is a Community Liquor Permit (CLP) and it can only be issued to an individual over the age of 18 on behalf of a non-proprietary club, organisation or association. A person or commercial operation cannot obtain a permit to make money for themselves.

The application for the CLP must be lodged at least 21 days in advance of the event, or it will not be processed. We recommend taking steps to make this application well before the event to allow sufficient time to process the application, provide any additional requirements and obtain the OLGR approval.

2. Identify your venue

If your club does not already have a liquor licence, then you may make application for a CLP in relation to your clubhouse, greens or another venue of your choosing.

However, if your club already has a liquor licence, the position is slightly different. The OLGR will not issue a CLP in relation to an area that is already licensed. Therefore, if the event is to be held at a licensed clubhouse, for example, additional applications may be required, depending on what type of event is planned and what rights are already available under the existing liquor licence.

If your venue is a public place (such as a park) or an area controlled by Council, then you should seek Council co-operation as soon as possible in the planning process.

3. Evaluate your risk level

Consistent with the goal of 'harm minimisation', additional steps must be taken if an event exhibits any 'high risk' factors and as a result is considered a 'high risk' event.

High risk factors for an event include a large area for consumption of liquor (exceeding 200 square metres in total), large expected attendance (more than 2,000 persons), post-midnight trading, entertainment that may cause disturbance in the locality or any other reason considered to have the potential to cause concern to the OLGR.

The organisers of a high risk event must submit a detailed Event Management Plan outlining specific criteria set out by the OLGR in relation to the event.

4. Understand your obligations

When planning an event, there should be an active effort by those involved to plan thoroughly, seek expert advice and accept responsibility for your obligations.

Early in the planning stages, you should seek the co-operation, involvement and assistance of appropriate experts, the OLGR, the Queensland Police Service and your relevant local council. This will go a long way to ensuring that your event runs smoothly, and is remembered as a successful fundraiser for your bowls club and the community.

This article was written by Scott Vanderwolf, Solicitor, and Curt Schatz, Managing Partner

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."