Planning

It is important that Victorian LDATs understand their state’s liquor licensing laws and how their community can participate in the liquor licensing process.

Information about liquor licensing in Victoria

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.

The Vic liquor licensing system

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.

The different types of liquor licences and permits

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.

The liquor licence application process

Application

How the community can find out about new licence applications is covered in Section 3a.

Liquor licence applications are submitted to the VCGLR.

Advertising

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.

Approval process

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.

Public objections

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.

Set your objectives

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.

  • Engage with 'x number' new partners to mobilize community groups to participate in objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications
  • Establish 'x number' new partnerships with community groups in the next 12 months to support participation in liquor licensing activities
  • Increase community awareness of alcohol-related harms by [insert percent] within the next 12 months
  • Increase community awareness of the impact that alcohol availability has on alcohol-related harm on the community by 'x %'
  • Increase community awareness by 'x%' of their ability to contribute in liquor licensing decisions
  • Increase community awareness of the liquor licensing process and how the community can participate in this process by 'x%' within the next 12 months
  • Improve community participation in the liquor licensing process by [insert percent] within the next 12 months
  • Support 'x number' community groups to submit objections to potentially harmful liquor licence applications within the liquor licensing time frames in the 'x name' community.

Working with community partners

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.[1] 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.[2]

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:

  • local council
  • police
  • local health organisations
  • religious organisations
  • schools
  • school-parent committees
  • various community groups (e.g. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, women’s, migrant and/or refugee, or groups of young people)
  • local businesses
  • rotary and Lions clubs
  • liquor forums.

Useful resources: Working with community partners

Determine resources required

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.

  • Basic administrative tools, including stationery, office supplies, phones, printing, a workspace for administrative duties.
  • Skilled personnel to coordinate the objection process, including collecting local evidence and formulating a response.
  • Knowledge/materials to engage community members and work in partnership with local organisations
  • Venue for meetings – this may include in-kind use of a meeting room from a partner organisation including a local library, schools, or community halls (your local council will have a list of available places for community use). It is not appropriate for meetings to be held in people’s homes.
  • Funds for catering at events and meetings.

Consider measures of success

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).