Victoria’s hospitality sector has been given a welcome boost, under new liquor reforms announced by the state government.

The new rules will mean bars, hotels, restaurants and cafes will now be able to serve alcohol until 1am without having to apply for a change to their licence (subject to any relevant council approvals).

Businesses with an existing licence will also be able to sell controlled amounts of liquor with their takeaway and delivery options without having to apply and pay for a second licence.

Businesses with temporary limited licences (TLLs) expiring in March will also benefit from a streamlined process to apply for a new TLL. The fast-tracked process will renew TLLs expiring in March in three business days, giving them a licence until December 2022 at no cost.

The reforms also include significant harm minimisation measures. All online sales of alcohol are now subject to the same conditions as over-the-counter sales. That means businesses selling alcohol online will be forced to deliver in-person to first-time customers so they can verify their ID and age.

Alcohol adverts and promotions “not in the public interest” will also be banned – including “advertising that is likely to appeal to minors, promotes violence or is of a sexual, degrading or sexist nature”.

The government hopes these changes can help revitalise the state’s night-time economy while still focusing on harm minimisation.

Blaine Hattie is a hospitality focused commercial lawyer at Sutton Laurence King Lawyers.

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