Earlier this year the Victorian Parliament changed parts of the state’s Liquor Control Reform Act, after passing the Liquor Control Reform Amendment Act 2021.
The changes come into effect in stages, with the first changes coming into play from 16 December, and others to follow throughout 2022.
Below is the information from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation regarding the first set of changes to the Act, that have now started.
Advertising of packaged liquor applications in online newspapers
Who does this affect? Applicants for packaged liquor licences
Current requirements: Applications for the grant, variation or relocation of packaged liquor licences must be advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area in which the premises—or proposed premises—is situated.
What will change? From 16 December 2021, such advertisements will no longer be limited to being advertised in printed newspapers. Instead, applications for packaged liquor licences may also be advertised in online newspapers.
No requirements for residents’ register to be in a form approved by us
Who will this affect? Holders of general, late night (general), on-premises and late night (on-premises) licences, who also provide accommodation on the licensed premises
Current requirements: People holding licences listed above are required to keep a residents’ register in a form approved by us if accommodation is provided on the licensed premises.
What will change? From 16 December 2021, resident registers will not have to be kept in an approved form. However, licensees must continue to keep a register that records the resident’s:
- residential address
- room number
- check-in and check-out date
Abolition of dry areas
Who does this affect? Liquor licence applicants in the local government areas of Whitehorse and Boroondara
Current requirements: Applications for certain categories of liquor licences in “dry areas” within the cities of Whitehorse and Boroondara are currently subject to a dry-area poll conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission. If the majority of electors vote against the application or proposal, we are prohibited from granting that liquor licence application—or any other licence application in that neighbourhood—within three years of the poll being conducted.
What will change? From 16 December 2021, dry-area polls will no longer be required for liquor licence applications in these local government areas. Applications will be assessed by us without the need to go through a dry-area poll.
Producer’s licence for sake and mead
Who does this affect? Sake and mead producers holding renewal limited licences; sake and mead producers wanting to apply for a liquor licence
Current requirements: A producer’s licence is only available for producers of wine, beer, cider or spirit.
What will change? From 16 December 2021, the producer’s licence will be expanded to incorporate sake and mead producers. This means that if you produce mead or sake, you may apply for a producer’s licence provided that:
- in the case of mead, the mead has been made by or at your direction and you have assumed the financial risk of the production of the mead
- in the case of sake, the sake has been brewed by or at your direction and you have assumed the financial risk of the production of the sake.
Next steps: If you are a sake or mead producer holding a renewable limited licence, we will write to you soon about your options for varying your licence category to a producer’s licence.
Owner or mortgagee may apply to cancel a licence when in legal possession of premises
Who does this affect? Owners and mortgagees of licensed premises
Current requirements: If a licensee or permittee has been evicted from a licensed premises, the owner or mortgagee is unable to cancel the licence or permit without first applying to us to be endorsed on the licence.
What will change? From 16 December 2021, an owner or mortgagee will be able to apply to cancel or surrender a licence or permit if the licensee or permittee has:
- been legally evicted
- abandoned the premises
- had their lease lawfully terminated.
We will provide notice of an application by the owner or mortgagee to cancel the licence or permit to the licensee, or anyone else who would be detrimentally affected. After receiving notice, these persons may object to the cancellation of the licence or permit.
The next changes, relating to liquor accords, will commence 31 January 2022, with further changes to commence early to mid-2022.