Police hopeful Bendigo's new liquor accord six months away

BOOZE AGREEMENT: A new liquor accord for Bendigo could be formulated within six months, police say. Picture: SIMON O'DWYER
BOOZE AGREEMENT: A new liquor accord for Bendigo could be formulated within six months, police say. Picture: SIMON O'DWYER

Police are hopeful a new liquor accord will be in place within six months after beginning a review of the outdated agreement. 

The 10-year-old voluntary accord currently has 117 signatories, out of 406 licensed venues across Bendigo, which includes sporting clubs, packaged alcohol outlets and pubs. 

Incentivising more venues to join the new accord may be considered by those developing the agreement, according to Inspector Shane Brundell. 

“To be truly effective we would like as many (venues) to sign up as possible,” he said.

The current accord is voluntary but it is unclear if the new agreement will be mandatory or optional.

Related: Bendigo liquor accord review underway

Police last week met with council staff and the state’s liquor and gambling regulator – the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – to discuss a new accord, and whether a separate late-night venue agreement is appropriate. 

The new accord would need to reflect a cultural shift in younger generations’ drinking behaviour, according to Inspector Brundell. 

Police are awaiting advice from the VCGLR, who will undertake a formal review of Bendigo’s accord, before formulating a new one.

The next phase will be consulting licensed venues. 

A teenager was knocked unconscious and two bouncers were attacked outside a Bendigo club on Sunday morning. 

The incident happened after the two attackers were ejected from Pall Mall nightclub Universal just after 1am.

Inspector Brundell said the incident was not a reflection of the need for new accord. 

“The venue itself did everything they're required to do. Unfortunately it’s just an isolated incident from a couple of people who decided to take matters into their own hands,” he said.

The current accord, which has been through phases of banning promotional deals that encouraged excessive drinking and banning high-alcohol shots at certain venues, has been left idle for a couple of years. 

The accord has no specifications for late night venues, however a group of owners had previously met quite regularly to discuss issues specific to them, like lockouts, CCTV and security.  

A 2am lockout for CBD venues was introduced in 2007.