Liquor License Transfers  

One of the easiest ways to obtain a liquor license can be to purchase a licensed business and transfer its existing liquor license over to your business name. Nonetheless, whilst seemingly simple, the process often presents many obstacles, and obtaining expert advice and assistance can save a lot of time and heartache. 

Forms to transfer an existing liquor license require the signature of both incoming and outgoing licensees and consent of the freehold property owner. In addition, mandatory training obligations need to be demonstrated, a new Risk Assessed Management Plan is required, and criminal history checks for all directors must be undertaken. Most importantly, the incoming licensee needs to ensure the license conditions and principal activity meet the requirements of their proposed operations.

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For example, it is not uncommon for a chef to purchase a licensed restaurant within a residential resort, not knowing they must also operate the accommodation business to comply with the relevant Principal Activity of the subject liquor license. Similarly, many restaurants and other premises provide entertainment and trade like small bars contrary to their noise conditions or Principal Activity.


Prospective licensees seeking to take over a licensed business might look at a business’s trading figures only and find out later that the company has been operating unlawfully and cannot operate in the same way. This often leads to substantial trade loss and compliance action by OLGR, which can result in fines and additional annual license fees.

Liquor Licence QLD can help avoid some of the common pitfalls and assist in streamlining the application process by providing a complete transfer package from only $1950 for low-risk premises or $2250 for high-risk premises, which includes:

Payment of the Interim Authority fee — currently $371.10;

Payment of the statutory transfer fee — also $371.10;

Completion and lodgment of transfer forms;

Preparation of a mandatory Risk Assessed Management Plan (RAMP);

Review of personal details schedules;

Payment of up to 3 criminal history check fees – $39.55 each;

ASIC search for a company extract if applicable;

Review of license conditions, licensed area and trading hours;

Advice on annual license fees;

Advice on Principal Activity; and

Regular liaison and follow up with OLGR staff to ensure the application is processed within standard timeframes. 

Let us handle the transfer process for you while you focus on getting the business ready for launch when the transfer is granted. Prospective Licensees should note that a transfer typically takes about 10-12 weeks for OLGR to process and approve. However, an Interim Authority can be sought, which would enable your company to start trading from the day of settlement while the transfer application is compiled in the background.

Another critical point to look at when taking over a licensed business is to ensure their license is still active. If the company has closed permanently, their license might have been cancelled due to non-payment of the annual fee. This can leave prospective licensees purchasing a business they believe to be licensed and facing the prospect of starting from scratch to obtain a new liquor license as a transfer is no longer possible. Liquor Licence QLD can provide expert advice to either avoid or remedy this situation. Feel free to call or email us for advice and assistance.

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