|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Liquor Licensing Commission came into operation as the successor to the Liquor Control Commission on 3 May 1988. Unlike the previous agency it was not a quasi-judicial body but represented a less formal approach to the control of the sale, supply, and consumption of liquor.
The Liquor Licensing Commission resulted from an enquiry commissioned by the State Government in 1984. On 10 October 1984 Dr J.P. Nieuwenhuysen began a comprehensive review of the Liquor Control Act 1968 (No.7695). The report was completed on 31 January 1986 and comments were invited. The general thrust of the report was that the Act under which the licensing laws of Victoria were administered was outdated and cumbersome. New social and economic developments associated with liquor licensing had been restricted by the antiquated nature of the law.
Three basic changes in liquor policy were suggested:
- greater use of instruments outside and within a licensing Act, especially tailored to counter problems of alcohol misuse,
- a less economically and otherwise intrusive and overlapping licensing Act, with greater flexibility for the business of licence holders,
- administrative reform of liquor licensing and a clear separation of judicial and administrative functions.
In 1987 the Liquor Control Act was passed and incorporated many of the report's recommendations.
The object of the Act was to respond to community interest by:
- promoting economic and social growth in Victoria by encouraging the proper development of the liquor, hospitality and related industries,
- facilitating the development of a diversity of licensed facilities reflecting consumer demand,
- providing adequate controls over the sale, disposal and consumption of liquor,
- contributing to the effective co-ordination of the efforts of government and non-government agencies in the prevention and control of alcohol abuse and misuse.
The Act provided that the new Commission should consist of a Commissioner, a Deputy Commissioner, (both of whom must be legal practitioners of not less than five years standing) and one or more Assistant Commissioners. The legislation also made provision for the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (s.35), a Registrar and licensing fund assessors and other officers and employees as might be necessary (s.45).
The Commission is required to receive, process, and grant or refuse applications for new licences or permits, transfers of existing licences, suspension or cancellation of a licence or permit, extended hours permits, consideration of objections to licence applications through preliminary conferences and, failing resolution, through determinations following hearings.
It is the role of the Commission to :
- assess and collect licensing fees,
- under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to act as a referral authority with respect to any question that arises under a planning scheme relating to premises where a liquor licence may be sought,
- to disseminate information regarding the operation of the Liquor Control Act to prospective applicants and the general public.
The primary function of the members of the Commission is to make decisions in accordance with the Act on applications put before them and to act as the referral authority under the Planning and Environment Act. The administration is the joint responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer and the Registrar.
In 1998 the Liquor Licensing Commission was abolished and replaced by the Director of Liquor Licensing within the Department of State and Regional Development.