Liquor licence changes to encourage community events in Melbourne

The Andrews Government has announced some new measures to encourage community and cultural events to be held throughout Melbourne.

While the existing freeze guidelines on new late-night liquor licences will continue throughout the inner-city municipalities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra and Stonnington, the Government has extended the exemption criteria for these licences to support businesses on their road to recovery.

Venues with existing late-night licences can continue to trade as they always have, while other venues can still apply to trade past 1am if they meet certain exemption conditions.

Changes to the exemptions from today include increasing the maximum number of patrons in exempt late-night live music venues from 500 to 1,000; exempting major event licences where the event has all local government authority approvals; and expanding the types of limited licences that could be exempt from the freeze by removing the ‘significant’ and ‘major’ qualifiers for cultural, live music, charity or tourist events.

The freeze on late-night liquor licences was first introduced in 2008 as one of a range of measures to respond to alcohol-related harm and crime in inner Melbourne. Exemptions are available on request to businesses that meet certain criteria – such as providing food or accommodation and having a Venue Management Plan in place.

“These revised guidelines are a vital step to allow small businesses to begin to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic and to give new venues a go,” said Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.

“Melbourne’s thriving night life is part of what makes this city so great – it’s important we’re able to support businesses without sacrificing community safety.”