By Andrew Starke

The Coalition Government in Victoria has made good on its election promise to reduce liquor licensing fees in a move to ease the burden on businesses and community groups that pose a low risk in relation to alcohol-related violence.

In November last year the Liberal Party promised to ease the financial pressure on over 10,000 sporting clubs, small businesses and community groups in Victoria by slashing ‘exorbitant’ liquor licensing fees.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien said that such venues would have their liquor licensing fees halved.

The base renewal fee has been reduced for the following categories:

  • full club (without gaming machines)
  • restricted club
  • vignerons
  • restaurant and cafe
  • renewable limited
  • BYO permits

“The government believes that the former Labor government’s increases in licensing fees have caused an unnecessary financial burden on community clubs and businesses who pose a low risk in relation to alcohol-related violence,” O’Brien said.

“The government has therefore taken action to reducing the licensing fee burden for many businesses and community based clubs.

“So restaurants and cafes including BYO, vignerons, limited and restricted clubs licensees, who would have been paying over $400 will now pay a base renewal fee of just $200.

“Full club licensees without gaming, that were facing fees of more than $800, will now pay just $400.”

According to government, the fee structure is a risk-based model that sets fees according to the risks of alcohol-related harm posed by different types of licences.

“Licensed premises that pose lower risk pay lower fees,” O’Brien said.

“The fees reflect the risk posed by different types of venues. The later venues trade and the larger they are, the more risk there is to the community.”

The government will also review fees for packaged liquor licences, to address any anomalies that see all packaged liquor outlets charged the same fee regardless of their size.

Licensees can seek to reduce their liquor licensing renewal fee by applying to reduce their patron numbers or trading hours.

Invoices were issued to licensees at the start of January and must be paid prior to March 31.

Licensees who continue to supply liquor after this date and who have not paid their renewal fee will be doing so illegally.

In certain circumstances, such as hardship applications, the Director of Liquor Licensing has the power to waive or reduce licence fees.

These applications must be received by Liquor Licensing by February 15, 2011.

Applicants should be aware that they will be required to submit certain financial information and provide a reason for why they are seeking relief for payment of full fees.

Licensees were sent a letter in December to explain the new fees and the due date, which has been extended to accommodate the changes.

For information on liquor licensing fees and application forms, click here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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