It is important that Victorian LDATs understand their state’s liquor licensing laws and how their community can participate in the liquor licensing process.
Find information on the Victorian (Vic) liquor licensing system, the different types of liquor licenses and permits, and the liquor licence application process. Further information on how the community can participate in liquor licensing processes and object to liquor licence applications is outlined in Map your steps.
In Australia, the liquor licensing process varies by state and territory because of the differing legislation. In Victoria:
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is responsible for regulating the liquor and gaming industries.
A liquor licence or permit states where and when alcohol can be served. Different licences and permits are available to suit different businesses or community organisations (e.g. clubs, restaurants, packaged liquor, etc.).
In addition to new liquor licences, licence variations are available for existing liquor licensees that want to change or extend the conditions of their licence.
Details about the different types of licences.
Videos by the VCGLR about licence types.
How the community can find out about new licence applications is covered in Section 3a.
Liquor licence applications are submitted to the VCGLR.
Once a liquor licence application has been successfully lodged, the VCGLR requires that, for most licence applications, signage be placed at the proposed premises advertising the application. Applications are also advertised on the VCGLR website. The purpose of the advertising is to notify the local community about the application.
Note: only a notice of application is provided online, not the licence application itself. For details of the application you must visit the public notice displayed at the site.
When the VCGLR is considering a liquor licence, they take into account the potential impact on the amenity of the surrounding area, including specific consideration of issues such as parking facilities, existing traffic density and noise levels.
Under Division 5 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, the public has the right to object to a license application. In object, members of the public must demonstrate that they will personally be impacted by the licence being granted. The local council may object to applications within their municipality.
More information on public objections to liquor licences here.
Setting objectives for your Community Action Plan activity is an important part of your LDAT planning process.
Some example objectives for community participation in liquor licensing are provided below.
Groups can develop their own objectives, although you may find these a useful starting point.
LDATs have a key role in building relationships in the community and finding allies that will support action to reduce the harm caused by alcohol in the community. Key community partners include the local council and police. The local council and police may also make an objection about a new liquor licence, and may be able to assist you with gathering some of the data about your local area (e.g. alcohol-related crime, anti-social behaviour, and property damage).
Liquor forums in Victoria are voluntary associations of liquor industry and community stakeholders. Depending on the area in question, they may involve liquor licensees, police, community members or organisations, and council. They typically seek to address anti-social behaviour and other problems arising from alcohol. Liquor forums may be more or less effective depending on the partners involved, the region in question, and the objectives of the accord. The VCGLR website offers more detail and a list of active accords in Victoria.
It is important for LDATs to work with partners who represent the population groups in their communities. Consider what population groups are in your community and who may be at risk of experiencing alcohol-related harms – you can partner with individuals and organisations who represent these groups. For example, if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are represented in your community, partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s organisations to make sure local action is responsive to local needs and representative of the community.
Partners may include:
Useful resources: Working with community partners
Below is an indicative list of resources required for LDATs when facilitating community participation in liquor licensing. The resources you may need will depend on a number of variables, such as the specifics of the licence application, why you’re objecting to it, and your desired outcomes. Local Drug Action Teams may be able to provide some of these resources or work with partners who can provide additional support.
While you are planning your activity, it is important to consider measures of success for your activity. Determine how you will evaluate the success of your activity linking your success measures to your objectives (see Measure your success).