Eroding public health through liquor licensing decisions

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article uses the public record to demonstrate the inadequacy of the current liquor licensing decision-making system in New South Wales (NSW) with regard to reducing alcohol-related harm. It describes and compares planning and liquor licensing decision-making systems and examines all decisions regarding applications for new liquor licences published by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority in 2016. These decisions are reviewed with regard to the Authority's duty to consider social impacts. The review identifies processes and patterns of decision-making that favour the applicant, demonstrate inconsistencies, fail to use health statistics, misinterpret other statistics, make inconsistent use of reputable health research findings and treat legal obligations as mitigations. The cumulative effect is a low refusal rate. Of 168 applications, 15 were refused. Review and appeal for objectors have been severely restricted in NSW.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-502
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • alcohol-related harm
  • licensed premises
  • liquor license applications


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