How to make a complaint about a licensee that sells, supplies or serves liquor

All Northern Territory (NT) liquor licensees must comply with the Liquor Act 2019 and their licensing conditions.

When you can make a complaint

You can make a complaint about a licensee if:

  • They broke a condition of their licence or authority (e.g. by selling liquor outside of their trading hours).
  • The licensee or one of their employees breached the Liquor Act 2019 or regulations (eg by serving liquor to a child).
  • The licensee or one of their employees breached another NT law that regulates the:
  • The licensee, or if the licensee is a body corporate, an executive officer of the body corporate, is convicted of an offence against NT law that is punishable by imprisonment for five years or more.
  • The licensee contravened a provision of an enforceable undertaking.
  • The licensee disobeyed a direction given under the Liquor Act 2019 (eg they ignored a direction from the Director of Liquor Licensing saying that shots can’t be sold after 10pm).
  • The licensee has stopped using their licensed premises for the sale, supply, service or consumption of liquor (eg a pub that has closed down).
  • Their licensed premises is no longer being used for the sale, supply, service or consumption of liquor in compliance with the licence and authority (eg a licensee who is breaching their licence conditions, or has a restaurant liquor authority but trades as a night club).
  • The licensee is not a fit and proper person to hold the licence.
  • A nominee or employee of the licensee is not a fit and proper person and the licensee should reasonably know that.
  • The licensee got their liquor licence by fraud or misrepresentation.
  • The licensee holds the licence for the benefit of another person who would not have been issued a licence.
  • The licensed premises were used in a way that caused:
    • disorderly conduct on or in the premises or the vicinity of the premises or
    • annoyance or disturbance to people living, working or running a business in the vicinity of the premises (eg noise complaints).

Complaints not handled by Licensing NT

Licensing NT doesn’t handle complaints about:

  • Unsatisfactory products or services (unless it relates to adulterated liquor).

You should first try resolving the issue with the licensee and if unsuccessful, call NT Consumer Affairs on 1800 019 319 or go to the Consumer Affairs website.

  • Criminal activity that is outside of our authority within the Liquor Act 2019.

To report a crime, call NT Police on 131 444.

For information about other complaints, go to the Ombudsman NT website.

How to make a complaint

Before making a complaint with Licensing NT, try contacting the licensee to resolve the issue.

If you can’t resolve the complaint with the licensee, are unable to contact them or feel uncomfortable approaching them, you can submit a complaint.

To lodge a complaint, follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in a make a complaint about a licensee form.

Make a complaint about a licensee PDF (199.2 KB)
Make a complaint about a licensee DOCX (62.8 KB)

Step 2. Submit your application by email, mail or in person.

By email or mail

Licensing NT
GPO Box 1154
Darwin NT 0801

In person

Go to your nearest Licensing NT office or a Territory Business Centre and fill in a complaint form.

For more information, contact Licensing NT.

After you make a complaint

The Director of Liquor Licensing will decide whether to accept or refuse your complaint and notify you in writing within 14 days of your complaint being lodged with Licensing NT.

If your complaint is accepted

If your complaint is accepted, Licensing NT will investigate it.

They will notify the licensee and give them an opportunity to respond in writing.

The investigation will take up to 90 days from the date that it is accepted. However, this can be extended if the Liquor Commission approves.

After the investigation is completed

After the investigation is finished, the Director of Liquor Licensing will decide to do one or more things:

  • take no further action, if there are no grounds or evidence to justify taking further action
  • give the licensee a formal warning
  • mediate the complaint
  • enter an enforceable undertaking
  • issue the licensee with an infringement notice.
  • refer your complaint to the Liquor Commission for disciplinary action.

The Director will give you, the licensee and the Liquor Commission written notice of their decision.

If the Director refers your complaint to the Liquor Commission, it may hold a hearing to make a decision about the complaint.

Hearings are usually open to the public, unless the Commission decides that a public hearing is not appropriate.

Further information

For a list of licensees and liquor licences in the NT, go to the online public register.

For information about complaint decisions made by the Liquor Commission, go to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.

Last updated: 30 July 2021

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