By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
Holders of liquor licences in Victoria are falling victim to recent changes concerning the 'red line' plans that specify the allowable areas for alcohol service on their premises, according to legal experts.
Sale and transfer applications for liquor licences are under increased scrutiny by the Victorian Commission for Gaming & Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), which now requires increased accuracy and detail regarding the alcohol service areas.
As such, the usual practice of hotel owners to simply outline the boundaries of the entire hotel as the licensed area, without regard to internal layout, is now causing problems with new applications and the sale of venues.
Kliger Partners principal lawyer Mark Yaskewych told TheShout that inaccuracy in red line plans can cause significant delays for sales and new premise openings.
"There are many hotel owners and other owners of licensed premises that over time change internal layouts of the hotels – including their bar areas – but have failed to notify the VCGLR or the previous liquor licensing authorities of the changes," he said.
"The VCGLR may require an application for variation to be made, which in most cases requires the application to be advertised, usually by way of a sign at the front of the premises."
"This can lead to objections to the application and therefore delays in completion of a sale transaction."
As well as the need to detail areas to be used for liquor serving or storage, Yaskewych said the location of fixed and moveable walls and the basic functions of areas such as bars and kitchens must also be submitted.