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Victorian State Government to Relax Liquor Licence Freeze Guidelines

Live music in the inner city is set to receive a massive boost with the State Government relaxing guidelines on the size of music venues exempt from the late night liquor license freeze.

The Andrews Government announced yesterday that while the existing freeze on new late night licenses in the inner-city municipalities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Yarra and Stonnington will continue, the patron capacity limit for live music venues eligible for an exemption will be increased from 200 to 500 people. The reform, led by Music Victoria, was based on the definition of a small to medium sized venue (under 500 capacity) in The Age Music Victoria Awards criteria.

The freeze, established in 2008 to control the density of liquor licenses and related anti-social behaviour in major entertainment precincts, meant that venue operators were limited in their capacity to open new venues as they needed to find old buildings with an existing late night license. Now they will be able to apply for a new license in more modern, diverse buildings. Along with the Creative Victoria funded Live Music Professionals coaching program, which will begin upskilling the next batch of mid-career venue bookers and promoters at the Corner Hotel tomorrow, and the Changes conference, which will provide the industry with the latest trends and ground breaking ideas in music and technology at the Abbotsford Convent on Wednesday and Thursday, Victorian music is in strong position to capitalise on its world renowned live music standing.

‘’This reform could be a game changer for live music in the inner city,’’ said Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan. ‘’On behalf of the live music sector, we thank the State Government for continuing to consult with and support the Victorian music industry.’’

In other red tape cuts, additional requirements for applicants seeking to trade after 1am on New Year’s Eve within the freeze will be removed, and council support will no longer be required for an application seeking an exemption from the guidelines.

“These reforms are helping boost Melbourne’s thriving night-time economy, without sacrificing community safety,”said Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz

“We’re extending the freeze on late-night liquor licences, but we’re also making sure that the process is clear and simple for venues that have legitimate grounds for exemptions.”

“This is an important step in continuing to reduce anti-social behaviour while also allowing Victorians to go out and enjoy Melbourne’s world-class night life.”