In a win for Melbourne’s small live music venues, the city’s seven-year late night liquor ban has been relaxed, allowing alcohol to be served past 1am in new establishments which meet capacity requirements.
In a statement (below), Music Victoria says it is “thrilled” by the news that late night liquor licences will be available to small music venues and boutique bars in Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra beginning from 1st July.
Jane Garrett, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, has announced that venues with a capacity of 200 or less will be exempt from the general freeze on late night liquor licences.
“Melbourne’s thriving boutique bars and pubs create jobs and draw tourists, and we’re supporting them by encouraging responsible drinking habits,” Minister Garrett says.
“We know there’s a relationship between the concentration of licenced premises in an area and alcohol-related harm, and extending the freeze is just one of a number of ways we are making our community safer.”
To be exempt from the freeze on liquor licences, small venues will need council support, and will need to demonstrate economic benefits and take action to prevent alcohol abuse.
The new exemption comes after lengthy advocating by Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan, who called for such an exemption on the Liquor Control Advisory Council’s Freeze sub-committee.
Elsewhere, Melbourne’s ‘Big Freeze’ on liquor licences has been extended so that new, large venues will not be eligible for an exemption. The freeze will apply for another four years, but the Victorian Labor Government will grant some temporary variations to the freeze for events such as New Years Eve.