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Important changes to Victorian liquor legislation; Changes to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

Important changes to Victorian liquor legislation; Changes to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

On 5 June 2018, the Victorian Parliament passed the Liquor and Gambling Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (the LGLA Act), amending the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (The LCR Act) resulting in a variety of changes to the way in which licensees run their venues.

"It is the responsibility of licensees to ensure they understand their obligations under the LCR Act and to make any necessary arrangements to remain compliant" the Commission said in a statement on 18th July 2018. On this basis, it is important that all licensees familiarise themselves with the changes made, some of which come into effect today.

Below is an overview of the main changes to the legislation effecting licensees and is provided to assist in understanding the changes. These details have been taken directly from the VCGLR website.

Changes coming into effect 18th July 2018:

RSA Register:


From 18 July 2018, it will no longer be mandatory for licensees to establish and maintain an RSA register. Licensees will still be required to retain a copy of the most up-to-date RSA certificate or evidence of an approved RSA program completion issued to any staff member involved in the sale and service of liquor.

Further, a licensee must still provide information to an authorised person on request, including the name of the responsible person at the licensed premises, the name of each person who is engaged in the sale and service of liquor and the date on which each person first sold or served liquor on the premises.

Static Alcohol Advertising:

From 18 July 2018, licensees are prohibited from displaying or causing to be displayed, static alcohol advertising within 150 metres of the perimeter of a school. This includes:

  • banners, hoardings, signs, images or rolling static displays
  • digital billboards and panels including moving or video images
  • moveable billboards and displays.


The prohibition on static alcohol advertising prohibition does not apply where the advertising is:

  • a logo, emblem or product name on a building occupied by a person conducting a business that is associated with liquor
  • alcohol advertising within a licensed premises or on an exterior of a licensed premises
  • alcohol advertising within a licensed premises or on an exterior of a licensed premises
  • alcohol advertising at a sporting ground or a racecourse.

 

Amenity Considerations


The amenity of an area is the quality an area has of being pleasant and agreeable. In determining whether the grant of a liquor licence application would detract from or be detrimental to the amenity of an area, the VCGLR may consider a range of factors under the LCR Act, including:

  1. the presence or absence of parking facilities;
  2. traffic movement and density; and
  3. noise levels.


From 18 July 2018, these factors are being repealed as it is intended that these matters are better determined as part of the planning process. This is intended to reduce unnecessary duplication between the liquor licence and planning processes.

Removing these factors is not intended to limit the VCGLR’s ability to grant a licence that has conditions relating to parking, traffic or noise levels on the basis of its consideration of amenity.

 

Unconsumed Liquor (Restaurant & Cafe Licenses)

From 18 July 2018, a restaurant and cafe licensee may permit a person of or over the age of 18 years to take away from the licensed premises unconsumed liquor supplied in the course of a meal provided that:

  • the unconsumed liquor is taken away in the same resealable container in which it was supplied; and
  • no more than one resealable container of unconsumed liquor per person is taken away.

 

Changes coming into effect 13th September 2018:

Supply of liquor to minors on licensed premises

Licensees will no longer be permitted to supply liquor to persons under 18 years of age (minors) for consumption on licensed premises under any circumstances.

A licensee may supply liquor to a minor if the minor is engaged to deliver that liquor to a person of or over the age of 18 years for consumption off the premises and that minor is a relative, employee or apprentice of the licensee.


Supply of liquor to minors in residences

There will also be new requirements regarding liquor supplied to minors in residences. An adult (i.e., a person over 18 who is the parent, guardian or spouse of the minor, or who is authorised to supply liquor to the minor by the minor’s parent, guardian or spouse) can only supply liquor to a minor in a residence if they can demonstrate responsible supervision of the supply of liquor.

Delivery of liquor to minors

A person must not, without reasonable excuse, knowingly deliver liquor to a minor. It is a reasonable excuse if the person making the delivery has seen an evidence of age document confirming the person receiving the delivery is 18 years of age or over.

It is important for licensees to remember that they are responsible for any liquor supplied from their licensed premised, including in the instance of off-premises delivery.

Changes coming into effect 1st March 2019:

Changes to Wine & Beer Producers Licence

The wine and beer producer’s licence will be replaced by a new licence category called the producer’s licence. This change will come into effect on 1 March 2019 or earlier if proclaimed.

Producers of beer, wine, cider and spirit may apply for this licence category if:

  • in the case of beer, the beer has been brewed by or at the direction of the applicant and they have assumed the financial risk of production;
  • in the case of wine, cider or a spirit that is brandy, the wine, cider or spirit has been made from fruit grown by the applicant or under their direction and they have assumed the financial risk of production; or
  • in the case of a spirit that is not brandy, the spirit is distilled by or at the direction of the applicant and they have assumed the financial risk of production.

This change will not affect any obligations for existing wine and beer producer’s licensees.

 

Licence Transfers

To reduce delays during the transfer of an existing licence or BYO permit, the amendments provide that the transfer of a liquor licence or BYO permit takes effect on the date the VCGLR grants the application or the date on which the transferee obtains the legal right to occupy the premises, whichever is later.

This change will come into effect on 1 March 2019 or earlier if proclaimed. 

 

Removal of Demerit Points on Transfer of Licence

In addition to the above changes regarding the transfer application process, any demerit points that have been incurred by a previous licensee or permittee will also be automatically removed on the grant of a transfer application.

If the VCGLR finds that the transferee has a relevant relationship with the previous licensee/permittee, demerit points will not automatically be removed and the new licensee/permittee will need to apply to the VCGLR if they wish to remove the demerit points. This change will come into effect on 1 March 2019 or earlier if proclaimed.

 

Evidence of Planning Permission

Under the amendments due to come into effect on 1 March 2019 (or earlier if proclaimed), the VCGLR must not delay a decision on an application on the ground that a planning application has not yet been determined. Instead, the VCGLR will be able to grant applications before applicants obtain the relevant planning approval from their local council.

If an application is granted in this circumstance, the grant takes effect on the day the applicant obtains planning approval or the day on which other evidence is provided to the VCGLR that planning approval is not required. Applicants must advise the VCGLR within seven days of obtaining such approval.

 

More Information?

Additional information is available through both the Fact Sheet issued by the VCGLR, as well as their FAQ Document. In the meantime, On Tap Liquor Consulting staff have undertaken a review of all the changes and are able to assist should you require. Please contact us today if you are unsure of how these changes may impact your venue.


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