The Hospitality Messenger

Policies of the Director

Licensees and applicants are reminded of the need to comply with policies of the Director, which are published on the DLGSC website and to be aware that the policies are amended from time to time, sometimes without notice.

Several policies were amended on 3 October 2018.  They can be accessed here.

Of note is the amended policy relating to special facility licences (SFL) issued for the prescribed purpose of “catering”.  Such SFLs are commonly used for events, including large public festivals and some pop-ups. 

The amended SFL policy contains a list of several conditions that will “normally be imposed to maintain the integrity of the licensing classification system in relation to the conduct of a catering business.”   The food focus requirement for such SFLs is emphasised in the policy.

We understand the licensing authority to be adopting a stricter approach to SFLs issued for catering.

Licensees, mark your diaries and get pay annual licence fees

All licensees will need to pay their annual licence fees by 1 January 2019.  We urge licensees to pay well before then.  Whilst you should receive a notice for payment from the licensing authority, sometimes notices go astray and we strongly recommend that licensees do not rely on receiving a notice.  It is the responsibility of all licensees to pay the annual fee, whether a notice has been received or not.  Every year we see fines issued, licences suspended and sometimes even licences cancelled for non-payment of the annual fee.

Decisions without reasons

Due to one of the recent changes to the Liquor Control Act, the Director of Liquor Licensing has stopped publishing reasons with decisions. 

The Director is not obliged to provide reasons to any party, or to publish reasons that are provided, but the Director must at least give written notice of the decision to all parties.  If that notice does not include reasons, a party to the proceedings may request written reasons be provided.

Whilst the Director was not previously obliged to publish reasons, many decisions were published with reasons, which could assist those in the industry and prospective applicants to understand some of the attitudes of the licensing authority and its interpretation and application of the law and policy. 

The new system will now make it much harder to gain insight into the thinking of the office of the Director of Liquor Licensing, especially for those who are not involved with many applications and decisions.

Visitors now permitted at clubs

Licensed clubs may now sell and supply liquor to non-members who are “visitors” within the meaning of the amended liquor legislation.

In doing so, clubs must still comply with their rules and conditions of their licence.

Statistics driving application outcomes

We have observed a noticeable increase in applications being refused on the basis of statistical evidence regarding harm and ill-health factors, including crime, alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths, domestic violence, drink driving, socio-economic disadvantage and other related information. 

Decisions by the licensing authority this year have revealed a greater focus on such evidence and it has become more difficult to obtain approvals in localities with high statistics of this nature.

Brag Box

Just in the last three months, we have obtained 8 approvals from the licensing authority for our clients for a variety of new licences and ETPs.

Do you have the necessary approvals in place for playing music?

A Melbourne restaurant and bar owner was fined $185,000 by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia last month for breaching the Commonwealth Copyright Act by playing music without being licensed to do so. 

Venues around Australia need to hold an appropriate licence for the public performance/playing of protected sound recordings, which includes most music heard in licensed premises. 

The full decision can be read here.

new packaged liquor laws – update

The Hospitality Messenger understands that the new, restrictive laws governing applications for licences involving packaged take-away liquor should come into effect in February 2019.

Did you know

For licences authorised to supply free samples, unless special conditions apply, the volumes permitted are: beer 100ml, wine 50ml and spirits 15ml


Did you know?....if you want to provide an early morning coffee service from your drive-through bottleshop, or set up a TAB in your bar, or have some other form of business separate from the liquor business, perhaps to supplement income, you will most likely need prior written approval from the licensing authority so as not to breach the liquor legislation which restricts non-liquor businesses on licensed premises.  The penalty for non-compliance is a fine of up to $10,000 for the licensee and $4,000 for anyone else.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.