Liquor Licensing

Victorian liquor licensing laws are overseen by the Victorian Commission of Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). The VCGLR have a website that is very easy to navigate and understand and which gives all the information required about applying for a liquor licence, extending an existing licence, applying for a one-off license for an event or function.

You can access the VCGLR website by clicking on:

www.vcglr.vic.gov.au

A summary of the information contained on the VCGLR website is as follows:

  • Liquor license types
  • Application process and information for new license applications
  • Standard obligations of liquor licences
  • Information relating to varying a liquor licence
  • Special considerations

Applying for a liquor license

There are four types of permanent liquor licences suitable for clubs in Victoria that are seeking a permanent liquor licence that are generally applied for:

  • BYO permit – when you only want a permit that allows members and their guests to bring their own liquor and drink it on club premises.
  • Restricted club licence – where you wish to sell liquor to members and their guests on the club premises.
  • Renewable limited club licence – where you wish to sell alcohol from a booth or marquee outside the club rooms or hold events run by non-members.
  • Full club licence – allows all the above circumstances as well as other event and functions.

Temporary liquor permits – Clubs are also able to apply for temporary liquor permits when they are having one-off events not at their club rooms and not covered under the other party’s liquor license or they need to extend their existing license for a one-off or series of events.

Applying for a full club licence – Making an application for a full club licence is a time consuming and sometimes complex process. You will need to work with your local government, the police and the local community to get a licence with conditions suitable to all parties.

The VCGLR have produced a comprehensive application kit for clubs wishing to apply for a full club licence. This kit can be accessed by clicking on:

https://assets.justice.vic.gov.au/vcglr/resources/bedf2d7a-1467-4af8-aa73-b19b0ecebc87/fullclublicence_kit.pdf

A summary of the information contained on the VCGLR kit is as follows:

Requirements before you can make a full club application

There are number of steps which need to be completed prior to your club being in a position to make an application including:

  • A copy of the planning permit from the local council (or responsible planning authority) showing that you have planning permission to supply liquor as detailed in your application OR a letter from the council advising that a permit is not required to supply liquor as detailed in your application
  • Each applicant to the liquor license must complete a questionnaire, primarily to detailing any criminal records or proceedings of applicant
  • Review, and if necessary, amend the rules of the club to ensure it complies with the requirements of Schedule 1 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998
  • A plan of your premises must be created with a red line drawn to define the area where liquor will be sold and/or consumed. There are a number of restrictions about the format of this plan
  • A report from a registered building surveyor stating: the area in square metres available to the public for the whole of the internal premises (excluding toilets, passageways and the like) and (if applicable) for any external areas such as courtyards or decks, and the number of patrons that may be accommodated on the internal premises and (if applicable) on any external areas of the premises based on a ratio of 0.75 square metres per person. The basis of the calculations must be included in the report
  • An occupancy permit showing a prescribed patron capacity. If an occupancy permit cannot be supplied, then the report from the building surveyor must also include patron calculations on the same basis as an occupancy permit under the Building Act 1993 7. Applicants may be required to complete two training courses, the first being new entrant training (there are a number of different courses and service providers who deliver this course) and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training.

Clubs will also have to determine the following information prior to making an application:

  • The nature of the club’s business and clearly demonstrating why a liquor licence is being sought
  • The trading hours are your club wishes to trade
  • The club representative who is in control of the premises
  • What entertainment will be provided at the club (especially the use of amplified music)
  • Whether patrons who are less than 18 years old are to be allowed on the licensed premise

Applying for a planning permit from your local Council

Applications for planning permits are to be made to your clubs local council. All councils will have slightly different requirements so contact your local council for their exact requirements.

Generally the following information (as a minimum) will be required to be submitted with their application form and the correct application fee:

  • Type of liquor licence applied for
  • Existing and proposed hours and days of trade
  • Existing and proposed maximum number of patrons
  • A current copy of the Certificate of Title for the land
  • Any current planning permits which apply to the land
  • An application fee

In addition your local council may require the following plans.

  • A site plan including:
    • the layout of your existing and/or proposed development showing the building, property or area which you would like to license.
    • Position and distances of the proposal in relation to your boundaries and neighbouring developments.
    • Site features such as existing vegetation, driveways, and the location and number of car-parks.

• Length of boundaries and walls.
• Any easements on the site.
• Proposed landscaping.

  • Floor plans ie: the internal layout of existing and proposed buildings in the liquor licence application including:
    • Layout of the building, including the location of walls, windows and doors
    • Use of each room in the building (i.e. kitchen, store rooms, bar and dining area)
    • An outline or marking detailing the proposed area to be licensed, including storerooms and kitchen areas (clearly defining existing licensed areas and proposed licensed areas).

Applying for a letter of Council consent to sell or consume liquor

When a planning permit is not required, a letter from your local council giving consent to the proposed license must still be sought. Generally an application form including the following information will be required including the following information:

  • A floor plan detailing the area of the building and/or property to be licensed
  • Hours of operation
  • Maximum number of patrons.

Making an application

Once all the preparatory information has been collected, the following forms and information needs to be completed and submitted to the VCGLR either

by Post to:

Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
GPO Box 1988,
Melbourne VIC 3001

or In person to:
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
49 Elizabeth Street, Richmond (Hours: 8:30 – 5:00)

OR Victorian Consumer and Business Centre
113 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (Hours: 8:30 – 5:00)

The application must include the following forms:

  • Pre lodgement checklist
  • Full Club Licence Application
  • Permanent approval to permit underage persons on licensed club premises
  • Liquor Licensing Questionnaire for each applicant
  • Club Licence – Schedule 1 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 Declaration
  • A copy of the planning permit from the local council which shows that you have planning permission to supply liquor as outlined in your application. For example, this should show that you have planning permission for the activities permitted by the licence type, the trading hours you are applying for and the area where you would like to supply liquor (red-line area). (Alternatively, a letter from the local council advising that a planning permit is not required to supply liquor as outlined in your application.)
  • A copy of the club rules
  • Four copies of plans for the licensed premises, this will include the “redline area” clearly marked.
  • Evidence of completion of “New Applicant Training” and Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) of the applicants.
  • Application Licence Fee

Public display

Once your application has been accepted, you will receive an acknowledgement letter from the VCGLR. The letter will confirm receipt of your application and outline any actions you are required to take in order for your application to be determined. This will include the date on which you must commence displaying a Public Notice.
Complete, then copy the Public Notice in A3 size and then display the completed Public Notice at the premises for the 28 day period specified in your letter of acknowledgement.
The Public Notice must be displayed in a manner that invites public attention to the application. It must be:

  • Placed on the main street frontage of the site or premises
  • In a visible position
  • At eye level

At the end of the 28 day Public Notice display period, you must print, complete and return the Statement of display form to the VCGLR.

Standard license obligations

“Holding a liquor license is a privilege, not a right and selling alcohol comes with very real and serious obligations”

“You have a responsibility to ensure that alcohol is promoted and sold in a way that encourages responsible and appropriate drinking”

 Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation

 

The VCGLR contains an extensive library of brochures and fact sheets detailing standard responsibilities and obligations which include:

  • Responsible serving of alcohol
  • Fire safety
  • Required signage
  • Impact on the surrounding area
  • Administrative and record keeping
  • Compliance Audit
  • Special considerations

Your club’s responsibilities will depend upon which liquor license type they hold.  You can access the detailed VCGLR information on the standard obligations by clicking on the following link:

http://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/home/liquor/standard+licence+obligations/your+obligations/

Although the follow section of the website provides a summary of some responsibilities and obligations of holding a liquor license, please refer to your club’s license and the VCGLR website to understand your full responsibilities.

Responsible serving of alcohol

  • Alcohol is only allowed to be supplied within the licensed area (known as the redline area.
  • You must not serve alcohol to a person who is intoxicated (intoxicated people may remain on premises but not drink)
  • Drunken or disorderly people must not be allowed to remain on your premises
  • You must not allow people under the age of 18 into the licensed area unless you have underage approval from the VCGL or the younger person is:
    • With a responsible adult
    • Having a meal
    • A resident of the premises
    • Employed but not in the service of alcohol
    • Taking part in hospitality training
    • Any time liquor is available you must have some type of food available to purchase. (This can be as simple as nuts or chips)
    • You must make available to patrons free drinking water
    • Licensees and staff involved in the supply of alcohol must have completed an approved Responsible Serving of Alcohol course approved by the VCGLR. (Staff must complete the course within one month of commencing)
    • Refresher RSA courses should be taken by staff every three years
    • Licensees must maintain an up-to-date RSA register which includes
      • Details of all RSA holders
      • Copies of RSA certificates and refresher course qualifications
      • The date each person first sold alcohol on premises
      • Fire inspectors may now enter licensed premises and if a serious threat is discovered, close the venue down until the site is declared safe

Signage

You must display:

  • Your current license in an obvious place where anybody can read the conditions
  • There are three posters approved by the VCGLR that must be in an obvious position within the venue:
    • Intoxicated? Drunk? Disorderly?
    • Under 18? No Supply
    • Under 18? No Entry

Posters can be ordered by calling the VCGLR on 1300 182 457

Special Conditions

  • You must not supply alcohol outside your trading hours that are listed on your license

Administrative issues

  • You must keep a copy of the last “red line plan” submitted to the VCGLR
  • You must notify the VCGLR within 14 days if anybody stops being a director or licensee of the club
  • You must advise the VCGLR of any rule changes to your club within 14 days

Under age patrons on a licensed premises

Many clubs have underage participants who are not accompanied by a responsible adult utilising the club licensed premises.

If this is the case, clubs must apply for approval to permit underage persons on licensed premises.  This approval will only be granted to allow for sporting and ancillary activities such as training, coaching, attending team meetings, injury treatment etc.

Importantly this does not include social events.  Persons under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult to attend social functions at the licensed premise.

The application form can be accessed from the VCGLR website by clicking the following link:

http://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/home/liquor/exemptions+and+approvals/permanent+underage+authority+for+clubs/

Varying license details

If your club wish to or are required to change or vary their existing license they can do so by down loading the form from the VCGLR webpage:

http://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/home/liquor/existing+licensees/vary+your+liquor+licence/vary_licence_details

You may wish to change your license for the following reasons:

  • Change of hours of operation
  • Change of area or size of premises
  • Change the general or special conditions of the license

Changing your license

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