UPDATE May 7: APPOINTMENT OF NEW DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING - Government press release, new Director Mark Brennan starts work May 8. See May 2010 links page for more articles.

I’ll leave this page as it was for information purposes.

Sue MacLellan

"The concentration of power in the hands of the Director Of Liquor Licensing is really quite remarkable—and unnerving"
~ Tom Hawking, Inpress Feb 3

Thanks, Tom Hawking, for your fantastic article about Victoria's liquor licensing in street magazine Inpress.

Tom's article clarifies the confusion around who has the power to do what… and the results aren't pretty.

Sue MacLellan
Sue MacLellan, Director Of Liquor Licensing, has huge powers. To get an idea, look through Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 - click on the blue links on the left to see details. There is a huge amount left to the discretion of the "Director".

Tom describes how prior to 1998, liquor licensing was handled by the Liquor Licensing Commission, and then, via the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, was taken over by the newly formed office of Director Of Liquor Licensing. (There were 3 Commissioners, and there is now a single Director.)

This was in the Kennett period, by the way, though several of the Director’s powers have been added in amendments since then.

The reason for this change had something to do with national competition policy principles. Tom goes on to say…

"Quite why "national competition policy" required giving such a huge amount of power to an unaccountable and faceless public servant is unclear. But in any case, it shouldn't have happened, and the result is now plain for everyone to see."

He then talks about how Sue MacLellan has a track record of being unreasonable and unwilling to budge, and about the unfairness of the VCAT process, which both MacLellan and the Government are fond of touting.

And only the Governor can get rid of her! Unless she becomes insolvent or commits a crime - see No 151 Resignation and removal from office.

So Brumby and his team are powerless over her.

Except her 5 year term is up in April this year. Tom concludes his article by calling on everyone concerned "to lobby their local MP to ensure that Sue MacLellan's contract is not renewed, and to lobby for amendment to the Act to remove the concentration of power in the hands of any one person".

Your local MP’s contact details are here State Government roles & representatives

Pages for further reading
The Remove Sue MacLellan campaign page
Read MacLellan’s statement about The Tote, with responses
Jon Faine’s radio interview of MacLellan
See more on Sue’s powers on RIS 2009 page
See an article about Swords Wine at the Vic market