Victoria alcohol takeaway rules changed

Restaurants and cafés will be permitted to sell takeaway alcohol without a separate licence under new rules released by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

The VCGLR announced this week that rules which expanded the scope of takeaway activities by those under the restaurant and café licence.

Now, holders of these licences may supply packaged alcohol for consumption off-premise during ordinary trading hours without having to apply for a separate licence, as long as they sell alcohol with takeaway or delivered meals.

The extensions will come into effect on 15th March 2022 after the Victorian Parliament made changes to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 at the end of last year.

In marked contrast to similar rule expansions in Queensland recently, the VCGLR rules allow venues to sell up to 750ml of wine, as well as a six-pack of 375ml for beer, cider or premixed spirits.

In Queensland, despite strong lobbying from the Independent Brewers Association (IBA), as well as the recommendations of the Queensland State Development and Regional Industries Committee, the Queensland Government blocked the ability of venues to sell anything other than wine, allowing 1.5 litres to be sold.

Kylie Lethbridge, chief executive officer of the IBA, highlighted the help the Victorian Government has given to hospitality businesses over COVID-19, for instance with the $70 million Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund.

“We understand you can’t keep investing and funding these things forever, but businesses are still bleeding because of skills shortages, so any little thing that the government can do to help is welcome,” she told Brews News.

This was in direct contrast to the lack of effort from the Queensland Government with regards to the takeaway bill.

“When you understand what happened with the Queensland liquor takeaway bill, the response to the committee’s consultation period, the government’s own committee’s recommended changes and that the government chose not to take those recommendations, it just doesn’t make sense.”

In addition to the takeaway liquor extensions, the VCGLR has extended rules for licensees which allow them to apply for a temporary limited licence to authorise the supply of liquor for consumption in an outdoor area which is not normally licensed.

That policy, which was due to end in March 2022, has now been extended to December 2022. There are other changes happening at VCGLR with regards to online sales – read the latest here.

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