This section will guide you through the process of making an objection to the issue of a special licence in your community.
Find out about licence applications in your neighbourhood
Know the date of the first public notice of the application – remember special licences have no set notification period – you will have to act fast. Take note of the final day for objections in your calendar or diary.
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 within the period for making objections. You can ask to present additional evidence at the hearing. But make sure you provide some detail as to why the application does not meet the criteria in the Act.
Try to attend the hearing if possible
If you want your objection to count you will need to attend the hearing. If you need to, arrange time off work and/or care for your children.
If you can’t attend the hearing please tell the hearings advisor, and nominate someone (another objector perhaps) to represent your objection.
Consider asking witnesses to present
Try to meet with other objectors or at least discuss the upcoming hearing with them. Identify any gaps, inconsistencies and how these might be addressed.
Arrange any witnesses and/or support people you might need. Think about noise specialists, etc.
If you are appearing on behalf of a group make sure everyone knows about the hearing, and allocate them a role if appropriate.
Prepare a short summary of your key points and practice it. Summarise any further evidence that you have gathered since submitting your objection.
Be prepared to be cross-examined
You might be cross-examined so put yourself in the shoes of the applicant and think about any possible questions that they may wish to ask or challeng you on. Prepare some possible responses to these.
You may also have the opportunity to cross examine the applicant. If the regulatory agencies (council inspectors, health, police) are opposing and presenting evidence, you may have the opportunity to cross examine them too. Think about what questions you would like to ask them and write them down.
You might consider getting legal support. While there is usually a cost for this you might be able to get assistance.
You may consider contacting Community Law, or finding out if there are other community groups in your area with access to legal resources.
If you are approached by or informing the media regarding the objection/hearing extra care is needed as this is a legal process. For more information and advice, click here.
Be on time. Introduce yourself to Council staff when you arrive.
There will be four areas for participants to sit. The regulatory agencies will sit on one side and the objectors opposite. The applicant and their advisors sit opposite the committee chair and members. The committee will enter the room last – it is customary for all parties to stand while the committee takes their seats.
Follow the direction of the DLC/ARLA chair and respect the authority of the Committee or Authority. When speaking, speak clearly and confidently. If there is a microphone, ensure it is switched on when you speak (these sessions are usually recorded).
After the hearing – the decision
You will be advised of the decision and if you are not happy with this you have the right to appeal it. The information about how to do this and when should be included in the correspondence with the decision.
For more information on the Hearing Process, check out the Health Promotion Agency's document on licensing objections (page 24-28).