Western Australian restaurant-goers will soon be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage without buying a meal, under changes to liquor licensing legislation announced today.
Premier Colin Barnett said the government had fast-tracked the changes for restaurants that hold 120 or fewer people, to bring the state in line with its eastern counterparts.
The new laws, which will allow venues to apply for ‘liquor without a meal’ permits without undergoing public interest assessments, will take effect on June 4.
The application fee will also be reduced from $431 to $50.
Under the permit, alcohol will be allowed to be served without a meal until midnight from Monday to Saturday, and until 10:00PM on Sundays.
“This is about giving people more choice to have a drink at a restaurant in a responsible fashion, instead of only being limited to pubs and bars,” Mr Barnett said.
“The key change is the removal of the cumbersome public interest assessment for these smaller, low risk venues – that will slash the time and expense in the approval process, which could take months under the old system.”
The move was met with derision from opposition leader Mark McGowan, who sarcastically said he was shocked to see Mr Barnett deliver on an election promise.
Mr McGowan said the changes were simply an extension of liquor licensing reforms introduced by the Gallop and Carpenter Labor governments.