Further changes to Victorian liquor licenses

Posted by Janice Wong on 27th July 2010

A new Bill was introduced into Parliament today, affecting Victoria’s liquor licensing system. Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said the Bill, which is part of Brumby Labor Government’s continued reform of the Victorian liquor sector, will encourage a more responsible drinking culture and ease the burden on low-risk businesses.

Mr Robinson said the Liquor Control Reform (Amendment) Bill 2010 made a number of changes to the liquor licensing system, including:
• Extending the renewal date for liquor licences from 1 January to 31 March;
• Exempting hairdressers and butchers providing liquor as part of their businesses will not have to obtain a liquor licence;
• Making Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Training compulsory for employees of all bars, pubs and nightclubs; and
• Making it compulsory for pubs, bars and nightclubs to provide free drinking water.

“The Brumby Labor Government is determined to make our bars, pubs and nightspots safer by ensuring licensees serve alcohol responsibly and encouraging more sensible drinking,” Mr Robinson said.

“Compulsory RSA training for staff and free water for patrons help reduce drunkenness and will make our licensed venues more enjoyable places to have a night out.

Adam Jaffrey, a spokesman from anti-violence group Step Back THINK supported these new provisions.

“We’re pleased to see the Government taking a proactive approach to liquor licensing. The provision for free water and compulsory RSA training for bar staff are both essential steps towards creating safer venues for patrons and in the end, creating a more friendly and enjoyable night out for everyone,” he said.

Mr Robinson said the Bill would also exempt hairdressers and butchers who offer liquor as an incidental part of their businesses from having to be licensed.

“Earlier this year we announced that bed and breakfasts, florists and giftmaker businesses who supply alcohol as a minor part of their businesses will no longer have to pay liquor licence renewal fees from 2011,” he said.

“The exemption has been extended to other small businesses, so hairdressers will be able to offer complimentary glasses of champagne to clients and butchers can sell bottles of wine to take away with food purchases.”

All businesses qualifying for an exemption will be required to notify the Director of Liquor Licensing that they will be supplying liquor and will still have to comply with Victoria’s liquor laws.

Mr Robinson said the Bill also contained new provisions for businesses that provide sexually explicit entertainment requiring licensees to notify the Director of Liquor Licensing that they provide this sort of entertainment. The $30,000 licence renewal fee for venues with sexually explicit entertainment will also be included.