INFRINGEMENT notices handed out for breaches of liquor licensing laws have dropped in Ballarat over the past three years, with none handed out in 2013.
According to documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, there were eight infringement notices in 2011 and six infringement notices in 2012 for various offences.
All the infringement offences were paid, with the largest fines of $733 going to Dan Murphy’s Ballarat, Robin Hood Hotel and Northway IGA.
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) spokesman John Smith said the downturn in infringement notices was not due to a lack of auditing.
A recent report in The Age said dedicated rural-based liquor and gaming inspectors had been scrapped last year due to cuts to the VCGLR and that venues in Ballarat were going largely unchecked.
“A decrease in the number of infringement notices issued indicates an upward trend in licensee compliance,” Mr Smith said.
“A core goal at the VCGLR is to achieve high levels of voluntary compliance with gambling and liquor laws by setting clear expectations, encouraging the right behaviour and taking strong enforcement action where required.”
Mr Smith said there had been thousands of compliance activities in the Ballarat area between 2011-2013.
Other activities include educational letters, financial audits, systems audits, risk management discussions, inspections, investigations, written warnings, banning notices and disciplinary actions.
Mr Smith cited the Ballarat liquor accord as playing a key role in educating licensed venues and encouraging voluntary compliance of liquor licensing laws.