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Chapter 4: Venue Security and Safety

Venues that are safe, clean and provide a pleasant atmosphere where patrons can relax and enjoy themselves are likely to attract more customers and be more profitable. Such venues are also an attractive place of employment and cause little disturbance to the local community.

There are a number of factors that contribute to providing a safe and secure venue, including building maintenance, surveillance, crowd control and queue management, amenity, hygiene, emergency procedures and fire safety.

Minimum Requirements

As a venue operator, you are required to comply with any conditions on your liquor licence or planning permit, including maximum patron capacities, installation of CCTV systems, crowd controllers, trading hours, amenity, waste storage and collection, and parking.

Similarly, if you have a footpath or kerbside trading permit, you are required to comply with any conditions set out on that permit.

Under the Liquor Act 2019 (Part 4, Division 2), the following conditions are requirements of licensees;

  • Proper maintenance of all equipment, machinery, fittings, furniture, furnishings and other items used in operation.
  • Fire safety conditions in accordance with the Fire and Emergency Act 1996.
  • Public Health guidelines met as outlined in the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011.
  • No undue or unreasonable noise.
  • Posting signs and/or notices as directed.
  • Limits on material alterations.

Building owners must ensure their premises complies with the Building Code of Australia.

Most licensed premises that provide live music entertainment are classified as a Class 9b building and will be required to meet the standards in relation to that class. This includes the installation of fire safety equipment and disability access and facilities.

See the resources section of this chapter for further information.

Best Practice

There are a number of steps that you can take, in addition to meeting the legislative requirements outlined above to improve safety and security at your venue. These include:

Building design and equipment

  • Consult the Design Guidelines for the NT (details below) for practical advice on how to improve the safety of your venue through the design of its physical environment.
  • Consider serving drinks in shatter-proof glass to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Even if it is not a condition on your liquor licence, consider the use of security cameras as a tool to deter crime, capture footage that can be used in criminal prosecutions and enhance perceptions of safety. Security cameras can be particularly useful when used at the entry and exit points of a venue.
  • Ensure that fire equipment (extinguishers, hose reels, doors etc) is checked by a qualified person periodically, and that staff are trained in their proper use. Consult the NTFRS Fire Safety Checklist (link below).

Systems training

  • Consult with police and the local fire authority about developing an emergency procedure management plan. Ensure that all staff members are familiar with the plan and understand what they should do in an emergency.
  • Develop a staff procedure manual that contains all the information and obligations of staff when working in your venue. It should contain details about licence conditions, emergency procedures, floor plans with emergency exits, how to deal with noise complaints, how to deal with illegal drug use or dealing, harm minimisation strategies, and other relevant information.
  • Keep an incident register and review it periodically to ensure that all incidents are recorded and appropriate follow-up action is taken.
  • Conduct evacuation drills every six months.

Crowd control

  • Ensure that queues to enter the premises are kept orderly, and do not block footpaths or create loud noise. Consider using bollards, planter boxes or roped-off areas to achieve this.
  • Develop a re-entry policy that outlines the circumstances when patrons can leave the premises (e.g. smoking, use of mobile phone) and re-enter without queuing or paying an additional cover charge, to reduce patron congestion on footpaths and areas surrounding the venue.


Design guide

NT Fire and Rescue Service

Licensing NT

For information about the law regarding smoking, see: Smoking Laws and Businesses

Worksafe NT

Code of Practice- How to manage work health and safety risk

Australian Building Code Board

For information on purchasing the Building Code of Australia, or where you can view the Code, visit the Australian Building Code Board website: www.abcb.