Licence variations

Licensees have been able to, and still can, apply for "Variation of Licence”. They can apply to have the "high risk" conditions removed, for example. There is a fee for this application and I understand they don’t get it back if they are unsuccessful. And they must have a notice up on their wall for 28 days before-hand.

To see the confusing array of information and application forms the government provides for licensees wanting to change their liquor licence in some way, go here: Change Your Existing Licence.

Roll-back application
Since the SLAM rally Feb 23 and talks at that time between music representatives and government, Liquor Licensing has introduced a more simple, free method where licensees can fill in a form to apply to have the high risk conditions taken off their licence. As of April 19, only 6 out of 700 venues with “high risk” conditions have applied, and only 2 of these have been successful.

Go to the following page to find the application forms for removing high risk conditions: Request from Licensees with Live Music Venues Application Kit.

Roll-back conditions
Not all businesses can apply for the roll-back. Here’s what it says on the application form…

Consistent with the Live Music Accord, the Director of Liquor Licensing has introduced a special process to review some crowd controller liquor licence conditions.

To ask the Director to consider using powers under section 58 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 to vary the licence to remove the condition requiring crowd controllers to be present when live music is being played, simply fill out this form.

You can fill out this form only where:
• the venue provides live music entertainment
• the Director of Liquor Licensing imposed a licence condition requiring crowd controllers between 1 January 2009 and 23 February 2010
• the crowd controller licence condition was not imposed as a result of:
- compliance issues;
- mediated outcomes with local government, residents, the Director of Liquor Licensing or Victoria Police
- planning requirements, including any restrictions on varying conditions due to a planning permit or planning scheme
- a decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

There is no fee for making this request. The Director of Liquor Licensing will confirm that the crowd controller conditions were not put in place for any of the reasons above, consult with Victoria Police and then determine whether to use powers to initiate a variation of your licence conditions.

The Director of Liquor Licensing will write to licensees with a decision.

Licensees who do not meet the above criteria may seek to vary their licence conditions by using the standard licence variation process. Please refer to the 'Change Your Licence' section at for information on how to use the standard licence change/variation process.

My view
Removal of the high risk conditions using this simpler method is at the discretion of the Director of Liquor Licensing, who has demonstrated in the past she has little understanding or knowledge of Victoria’s music culture, and doesn’t see it as her job to have any, anyway.

I'd imagine any of these applications would be time consuming and stressful for the business owner, who presumably is likely to have the type of business where there is very little risk of violence anyway. And why should the onus be on them to deal with an unfair condition? It’s a “guilty until proven innocent” system.

Also, the business owner can't plan ahead while there is uncertainty.