By Andrew Starke
Victoria’s Consumer Affairs Minister, Tony Robinson, has announced the appointment of Mark Brennan as the State’s new Director of Liquor Licensing.
Robinson said Brennan would bring extensive commercial expertise and proven industry management skills to the position.
“The Brumby Labor Government has embarked on substantial reform of the liquor licensing system, introducing new fees that recover the real cost of industry regulation,” he said.
“The appointment of former Small Business Commissioner, Mark Brennan, as the new Director of Liquor Licensing signals the next stage of reform, as we work with the industry on rolling out regulation and enforcement.”
Throughout his career, Brennan has worked on reform projects to reduce red tape and assist small businesses, including the liberalisation of retail trading hours, liquor and tourism industry reform and restructuring retail tenancies legislation.
Robinson said the Government would ask Brennan to make the continued implementation of the new licence fees and the Live Music Accord key priorities.
“This Government understands the reform of the liquor licensing system has revealed some anomalies and we are working on practical solutions to assist the industry adjust to the new fee structure,” he said.
“The new Director will be responsible for the ongoing application of the new fees, including working closely with licensees on structuring their businesses to get the most appropriate and affordable licence type.”
Brennan replaces the controversial Sue Maclellan, who was the Director of Liquor Licensing from May 2005, who alienated many in the industry by presiding over a period of lockouts and crackdowns on live music venues in Melbourne.
Robinson thanked Ms MacIellan for her work as Director, saying she had overseen regulation of the liquor industry during a period of substantial growth in the number of licensed venues across Victoria.
“Sue Maclellan was Director at a time when the regulatory and enforcement demands on the office of the Director increased as the industry grew and diversified as a result of the liberalisation of liquor laws in the late 90s,” he said.
Brennan has been appointed Director for two years starting May 8, 2010.