Know the closing date for objections
Know the date of the first public notice of the application - you have 15 working days to make your objection from this date - write the final date of the 15 working day deadline for objections into your calendar or diary (note - working days do not include public holidays but do include regional anniversary days).
Think about all of the evidence that you can use to support an objection – check your incident log. Remember - you do not have to collect all of the evidence in the 15-working day deadline for an objection. You can ask to present additional evidence at the hearing. But make sure you provide some detail as to why licence applications do not meet the criteria in the Act.
Get others involved in your objection
Talk to others in your community who may share your concerns or be affected by the issue of the licence. Meet to talk about the application. Remember, they don't have to write their own objection - you could do a community objection in the form of a petition. See below.
Think about involving school principals, church ministers, local businesses, etc. It doesn't just have to be residents.
Write your objection letter or petition
Feel free to use the template below for your objection letter. Examples of objection letters for new on-licences, and for on-licence renewals are included.
Remember - you don't need to have all your information and evidence prepared within the 15 day deadline - you just need to outline your concerns in relation to the criteria in the Act. You can collect extra evidence to back up your objection before the hearing takes place.
Here are some tips:
Consider each of the criteria and aim to align your evidence to demonstrate the impact the licence will have on you or your community.
Make sure you are clear about what you want – i.e. do you want the licence to be refused altogether? Or would you be OK with the licence if certain conditions were in place (e.g. earlier closing time, noise controls)? Whatever the case, have some ideas about any special conditions you believe would be appropriate.
If you plan on collecting signatures in the form of a community petition, feel free to use this template:
Circulate the objection or petition template to others
Distribute the objection template to others in the community (those who live or work close to the premises). Encourage others to complete the objection letter and send to your local Council.
Or start to gather names, addresses and signatures on the community petition.
It is important that community objectors are able to attend a hearing of the District Licensing Committee in person.
It will be very useful to find out if the three reporting agencies (Council, Police and Health Authorities) plan to oppose the application. If there is opposition from the reporting agencies, your objection has a much better chance of success.
Make sure that everyone is fully aware of the process including when the objection needs to be lodged and that they may be required to attend a hearing
Send your objection to the licensing team at your local council
Submit your objection to your local licensing team before the 15 working day deadline (note working days do not include public holidays but do include regional anniversary days). The public notification will include the address of where to send it to.
For assistance, contact the regulatory agencies in your area.
You will receive an acknowledgement of your objection fairly promptly. If you don’t it might be worth checking with the licensing team or secretary of the DLC. Keep gathering evidence - you can present this additional evidence at the hearing.
The applicant may ask to meet with the objectors to resolve issues
It is not uncommon for the applicant to seek to talk to the objectors to see if any perceived issues can be resolved. Remember that they have your contact details and the reasons for your objection.
It is up to you whether you meet the applicant. Do not feel coerced into doing so. Some communities have had successes with meeting applicants and issues have been resolved without a hearing taking place.
Preparing for the hearing
- If you want your objection to count you will need to attend the hearing. If you can’t attend the hearing please tell the hearings advisor, and nominate someone (another objector perhaps) to represent your objection.
- Summarise any further evidence that you have gathered since submitting your objection.
- Meet with other objectors or at least discuss the upcoming hearing with them. Identify any gaps, inconsistencies and how these might be addressed.
- Prepare a short summary of your key points and practice it.