New packaged liquor bottle shops in Victoria will be required to apply for planning approval after a change to planning permit requirements approved by the Coalition Government last week.
Member for Mildura, Peter Crisp, said that bottle shops and retail outlets selling packaged liquor will no longer be exempted from the planning process.
“The Baillieu-Ryan Government is delivering on its election commitment to require bottle shops to justify their presence in the community in the same way as other licensed premises.
“This means local councils and the community will now have an active role in deciding the location of new bottle shops.”
Mr Crisp said the operation of packaged liquor bottle shops was raised by liquor licensees with the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael O’Brien when he held local meetings in electorates around the state.
“One of the concerns raised with the Minister at these meetings was the need for package liquor outlets to be more accountable for excess purchases and consumption for the benefit of community health and safety.
“Liquor licensees said they were expected to sell and supply alcohol responsibly and that packaged liquor outlets must do the same, including pricing and hours of operation.”
Mr Crisp said the Coalition’s actions on giving communities a say about new packaged liquor outlets in their local area should help address some of these concerns.
Under the former Labor Government, local communities were shut out of the planning process because bottle shops were exempt from planning laws.
“Labor even ignored a recommendation from its own Liquor Control Advisory Council, which told the former government in March 2008 that the planning exemption for bottle shops should be scrapped.”
The Baillieu-Ryan Government’s new permit requirement will be supported with guidelines to help councils assess the cumulative impact of bottle shops in a local community.
The new guidelines will also be able to be used to help councils assess the impact of other licensed premises within a locality.
“The Coalition’s actions bring to an end the era of bottle shops being allowed to set up in inappropriate locations with no regard to the views of families living nearby.”
Mr Crisp concluded, “Victorian families will now have the opportunity to comment to their local council under planning laws if they are concerned about the impact or appropriateness of a new bottle shop opening in their local area.”