Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 governs the supply and consumption of liquor in Victoria. 

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

Cases we can hear

An eligible person may apply to VCAT for review of decisions made by the Victorian Liquor Commission about:

  • an application for a licence or BYO permit, including subjecting the license or BYO permit to conditions
  • an application for the variation of a licence or BYO permit, including subjecting the license or BYO permit to conditions
  • an application for the relocation of a license or BYO permit, including subjecting the license or BYO permit to conditions
  • an application for the transfer of a licence or BYO permit, including subjecting the license or BYO permit to conditions
  • an application for approval of a person as nominee of the licensee or permittee
  • a change or cancellation of a late hour entry declaration
  • an application for renewal of a license or BYO permit
  • an application for the surrender of a licence or BYO permit
  • an application for release of obligations under the Act regarding licensed premises or, suspension of the license or BYO permit until it has been transferred or another person under the Act carries on the business under the license or permit
  • an application to have their name or the name of their agent endorsed on a license or BYO permit
  • a variation or suspension of a license due to a breach notice
  • an application for exemption from the requirement to provide free drinking water
  • an application for the approval of a person to be a director of the licensee or permittee
  • a request for the Commission’s consent to sub-let any part of licensed premises or assign the right to supply liquor
  • a request for the Commission’s consent to permit any other person to carry on the business of supplying liquor on the licensed premises or, permit any person who is not employed by the licensee or permittee to be engaged in carrying on such a business
  • an application for exemption from approved responsible service of alcohol program requirements
  • a notice banning the licensee from promoting the supply of liquor by the licensee or the conduct of licensed premises by the licensee
  • a request for the Commission’s approval to provide entertainment mainly for people under the age of 18 years on a part of the licensed premises
  • a notice requiring the licensed premises to be closed and evacuated
  • a request to extend the time for making an objection under the Act, or to accept an objection made after the deadline for making that objection has expired.

You can only make an application to VCAT after you have gone through internal review with the Victoria Liquor Commission.

People eligible to apply are listed under section 152 of the Act and include:

  • applicants for the grant, variation, relocation or transfer of a license or BYO permit or an entity that objects to the grant, variation, relocation or transfer of a licence or BYO permit
  • licensees or permittees who apply for the approval of a person as a nominee of the licensee or permittee; or the Chief Commissioner if the Commissioner objects under section 54(4) to the approval of the person as nominee of the licensee or permittee
  • licensees of licensed premises to which the late hour entry declaration applies
  • owners of licensed premises
  • mortgagees of licensed premises
  • people prejudicially affected by the failure of a licensee or permittee to renew their license or BYO permit as provided under section 62(1); or the Chief Commissioner if the Commissioner objects under section 62(4) to an application under section 62(1)
  • licensees or permittees who apply for the surrender of a licence or BYO permit or people who object under section 63(3)
  • people referred to in section 80(1)(a) to (d), who applied to have their names or addresses endorsed on a license or BYO permit; or the Chief Commissioner if the Chief Commissioner objects under section 83(1) to the grant of the application
  • owners or mortgagees of licenced premises referred to in section s81
  • licensees whose licences were varied or suspended
  • licensees who applied for an exemption; or licensees who received exemptions subject to conditions
  • licensees to whom exemptions were granted subject to conditions
  • licensees or permittees who applied for approval of a person to be a director of the licensee or permittee; or the Chief Commissioner if the Commissioner objects under section 104(3) to the approval of the person as a director of the licensee or permittee
  • licensees or permittees who requested the consent of the Commission to sub-let any part of licensed premises or assign the right to supply liquor
  • licensees or permittees who were refused consent or who were given consent subject to conditions
  • licensees who were given a notice
  • people who ask the Commission to extend the time for making an objection under the Act, or to accept an objection made after the deadline under the Act for making that objection has expired.

 

Cases we can't help with

We can’t accept some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Section 169 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

Documents you need to apply

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

You must apply to VCAT for a review of the Commission's decision within 28 days from when:

  • the decision on internal review was made; or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons, the statement of reasons is given to you or are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.

VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the Act gives VCAT different powers, VCAT can:

  • affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.

Putting the original decision on hold

In most cases, applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold and that decision stands until VCAT makes its decision.

If you want the original decision put on hold, you must ask for this by indicating you want a ‘stay’ on the application form and briefly explaining why you are seeking a stay.

It may not be possible to put the decision on hold if there would be no practical effect in doing so.

VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any stay. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant a stay.

Apply

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Make an application

You may have to pay a fee to apply to VCAT to review a decision. Learn more about fees or apply for fee relief.

Print-friendly application form

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.