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Local liquor industry is faced with a new, tougher scrutiny

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July 13, 2017

ECHUCA’S licensed premises are about to go under the spotlight with a boost in the number of compliance inspectors across regional Victoria.

ECHUCA’S licensed premises are about to go under the spotlight with a boost in the number of compliance inspectors across regional Victoria.

The Victorian Government is providing the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) with an $11.3 million funding boost to establish a permanent regional presence.

Work is under way to finalise locations for two regional hubs, which will become a base for inspectors to travel to nearby towns and educate managers about their obligations and make sure they are doing the right thing.

The hubs will allow for locally-based inspectors to establish stronger relationships with councils, local police and licensees in the area, so they can work together to minimise harm.

Campaspe police Inspector Geoff Owen said this would provide an increased compliance and inspection regime over licensed premises across the Echuca region.

As a liquor licensing inspector, Insp. Owen works closely with VCGLR compliance inspectors, Campaspe Shire planning department and its council investigation officers for licensing issues and applications.

‘‘We each bring expertise to the table and can action issues from different perspectives,’’ he said.

‘‘If a liquor licence issue develops or a licensee steps out of line, the combined effort of police, council and a VCGLR compliance inspector is a pretty formidable force to be reckoned with.’’

Insp. Owen said he approached his liquor licensing duties from a conservative position because granting and extending licences impacted the community with sometimes unintended consequences.

‘‘It is my job to thoroughly scrutinise these application to ensure there is no public harm created on my decisions. That being said, licensees in Campaspe are generally very good and we maintain professional relationships.’’

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