Victorian licensee banned for five years

21 February, 2020 by Andy Young

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has disqualified a licensee from holding a liquor licence for five years over a number of compliance issues.

SP Burke Pty Ltd was banned for failing to comply with the conditions of their liquor licence and effectively minimise alcohol related harm in their Ararat venue.

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In addition to disqualifying the body corporate which held the licence, this decision resulted in the disqualification of the director of that company from holding a liquor licence, being a director or partner in an entity that holds a liquor licence, having a beneficial interest in the shares of any entity that holds a liquor licence or managing any licensed premises or entity that holds a liquor licence.

Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance at the VCGLR said the decision to disqualify the licensee and its director came after Victoria Police made a request to the Commission to conduct an inquiry into whether there were grounds for disciplinary action against the licensee under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act).

“The grounds for disciplinary action under the LCR Act were supported by 15 separate allegations against the licensee of breaches of the LCR Act and/or its licence,” said Ockwell.

In giving reasons for its decision, the Commission stated that:

“The risk of harm to which the public is exposed through the Licensee’s operation of the Licence has included exposure to physical assaults, exposing minors to environments where liquor is consumed, supplying liquor to intoxicated persons and permitting intoxicated persons to remain on the Premises…

“If the Licensee demonstrates an inability to comply with the conditions of the Licence and to effectively manage the Premises, this gives evidence to support the argument that the Licensee is not a suitable person to hold the Licence…

“Having regard to the harms represented by the particulars which the Commission has found proven, and the Licensee’s failure to prevent these from occurring between 6 July 2018 and 6 September 2019, it follows that the Director is unable to manage the Premises in a manner which minimises harm. The Director is responsible for the Licensee’s unsatisfactory operation of the Premises, and it is therefore appropriate to consider whether he should also be disqualified…”

Ockwell added: “This decision demonstrates the VCGLR’s commitment to regulating Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to minimise harm so that Victorians and visitors can enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.”