|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
With the passing of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (No 94/1998) the Liquor Licensing Commission was abolished. This legislation was the result of a review of the Liquor Control Act 1997 against national competition policy principles. The goals of the legislation were to establish a framework for the sale of liquor that contributed to the minimisation of harm whilst facilitating the development of the industry and meeting community expectations regarding the availability and appropriate opportunities for the consumption of liquor.
The Commission was replaced by a Director of Liquor Licensing to be appointed by the Governor in Council. The Director was to be responsible for the administration of the Act with the power to determine applications for licences and permits in a timely and accurate fashion. Liquor licensing (as Liquor Licensing Victoria) operates as part of the small business portfolio situated in the Department of State Development and later the Department of State and Regional Development. In 2002, it became part of the consumer affairs portfolio within the Department of Justice VA 3085. The agency became a statutory body in 2006.
A Liquor Licensing Panel, with the number of members to be determined by the Minister was established to consider the merits of objections against licence applications referred to it by the Director and to provide a recommendation to the Director as to whether the application should be granted. Further rights of appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal were provided for in the Act.
The option for areas to remain dry after a poll conducted by local municipalities remained as did the system of licensing inspectors. Inspectors were to be appointed by the Chief Commissioner of Police from members of the police force of the rank of inspector or above. Police retained the right to issue infringement notices for breaches of the Act and to take proceedings in a Magistrates Court and/or before the Victorian Civil and Administrative tribunal.
The Act also established the Co-ordinating Council on Control of Liquor Abuse. The fifteen members of the Council were to be made up of persons representing the Minister responsible for the administration of specific Acts and persons with expertise and knowledge in specified areas, all to be nominated by the Minister and appointed by the Governor in Council. The Councils function is to advise the Minister on the problems of alcohol abuse and other matters as referred by the Minister.