Victoria Minister for Gaming and Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien
New Era For Liquor And Gambling Regulation In Victoria
Victor P Taffa
Victoria’s new combined gambling and liquor regulator was launched today by Minister for Gaming and Consumer Affairs Michael O’Brien with the six inaugural commissioners.
Mr. O’Brien said the establishment of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) delivered on a key election commitment and was the new independent statutory authority replacing the functions of the Director of Liquor Licensing, Responsible Alcohol Victoria and the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation.
“The new Commission is charged with administering Victoria’s liquor and gambling laws, while continuously working to improve and streamline regulation.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“It will be modern and agile in its approach, engaging and educating the industry while enforcing and ensuring compliance with liquor and gambling laws.”
“In a significant reform, appeals against liquor licensing decisions at first instance will now be heard by a separate appeals panel of the Commission, promoting authoritative and consistent decision-making to give greater certainty to the community and industry.” Mr. O’Brien said.
The VCGLR’s new Chairperson, Mark Brennan, said the role of the Commission would be to apply Victoria’s gambling and liquor licensing laws through consistent and transparent decisions.
“VCGLR Commissioners are accountable for statutory decision-making and are required to make decisions that minimise harm, develop responsible industries and respond to diverse community expectations.” Mr. Brennan said.
“We will be responsible for licensing and compliance activities to prevent and detect breaches of liquor and gambling law. And, just as importantly, we will play an integral role in informing and educating industry about regulatory practices and requirements.”
Since its election the Victorian Coalition Government has:
• Introduced tough new penalties for drunken, loutish and threatening behaviour;
• Extended the freeze on new late-night liquor licences in high risk areas;
• Removed the planning permit exemption for new packaged liquor bottle shop applications;
• Created new powers for licensees and Police officers to bar troublesome patrons from entering or remaining in a venue for a set period of time;
• Passed legislation for new offences to deal with drunks hanging around licensed premises after being refused entry or required to leave, and those attempting to re-enter a venue within 24 hours of being denied entry or requested to leave a venue;
• Provided $800,000 to fund the Step Back. Think program to continue its work in tackling alcohol-related harm;
• Banned the use of isolation audio technology on gaming machines;
• Strengthened the ban on ATMs in gaming venues to apply from 1 July 2012;
• Committed $150 Million over the next four years to establish the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation;
• Made changes to legislation to ban lobbyists from gambling licensing processes;
• Set a new public interest test to prevent raffles offering inappropriate prizes.
Mr. O’Brien said he was pleased to deliver on the Coalition Government’s commitment to establishing a single regulator for liquor and gambling.
“Victorians deserve the most effective application and enforcement of liquor licensing and gambling regulation, which the Coalition promised to deliver through a new regulator.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“We proudly deliver on that commitment with the establishment of the VCGLR, its modern structure and outstanding personnel.”