Yarra's local law on drinking alcohol in public places expires in October 2021, and we needed to explore options for replacing it.
We developed a new local law through an extensive community consultation process. We also carried out benchmarking, social and academic research and took into consideration our responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2020.
The new local law was adopted at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 5 October 2021. It will be incorporated into Yarra's General Local Law, and come into effect on Tuesday 19 October 2021.
Opportunities for further feedback
Yarra's General Local Law will expire in 2026. In the lead up to this, we will be reviewing the local law including the section on drinking in public places. Community members will have an opportunity to provide feedback as part of that process.
Find out more about the changes to our local law
Under the new local law, responsible drinking in public places would be allowed throughout Yarra except for:
- In Yarra's public parks and reserves between 9pm and 9am each day.
- On the footpath adjoining a licensed venue when it is open and trading, except where the venue mainly sells takeaway liquor (like bottle shops).
- Within 10 metres of the entrance and exit for public buildings or facilities that provide services to families and children (including libraries and leisure centres).
- Around New Year's Eve, from 9pm on 30 December to 9am 1 January.
- Around Swan Street in Cremorne and Richmond during AFL Grand Final weekend. This would be from 9pm the day before until 9am the day after AFL Grand Final day.
- On any road, including while in a car.
The law also allows for new restrictions in certain situations prescribed by Council resolution. This would allow us to respond to exceptional circumstances as they arise and is only to be used where it is clear that there is an extraordinary and immediate risk to public safety related to the consumption of alcohol.
The new law starts with a statement that explains that it is not to be used in situations where a person appears to be physically, psychologically, socially, culturally or economically vulnerable.
There are also specific rules in the Procedures and Protocols Manual that direct anyone enforcing the law to first consider circumstances and offer appropriate support instead of punishment.
In this way, the local law is not intended to be used against anyone experiencing vulnerability or stop them from accessing support.
The previous local law restricts people from consuming alcohol in any public place in Yarra except for public parks between 9am and 9pm. It also specifies no consumption of alcohol in Yarra’s parks from 9pm the day before New Year’s Eve until 9am on New Year’s Day.
The new law would be the opposite of this, taking a more targeted approach that is more responsive to the needs of the Yarra community. Drinking is allowed in all public places in Yarra except at the locations and times specified in the law.
What has been the process so far?
Timeline item 1 - complete
First phase of research and consultation considered
Council Meeting Tuesday 30 March 2021
The first phase of consultation and research was presented at a Council Meeting, and further stakeholder consultation was approved.
Timeline item 2 - complete
Targeted stakeholder consultation
Workshops were held with key stakeholders to help inform the first draft of a local law.
Timeline item 3 - complete
Draft law considered for further consultation
Council Meeting Tuesday 20 July 2021
A draft of the law was considered at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 20 July, and approved for broad community consultation.
Timeline item 4 - complete
Broad community consultation
Thursday 22 July to Thursday 19 August 2021
A draft of the law was available for broad community consultation and feedback.
Timeline item 5 - complete
Reviewing feedback and updating recommended approach for the local law
Friday 20 August to Tuesday 7 September 2021
Community feedback and ideas along with benchmarking, social and academic research, and our responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2020 were used to inform the updated recommended approach for the local law.
Timeline item 6 - complete
Council Meeting to consider updated draft
Council Meeting Tuesday 7 September 2021
A report from the broad community consultation and an updated draft of the law was considered at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 7 September 2021.
Timeline item 7 - complete
Public exhibition of proposed law
Wednesday 8 September to Wednesday 29 September
Community members and stakeholders were able to view the proposed local law and make a submission.
Timeline item 8 - complete
Council Meeting to consider proposed local law
Council Meeting Tuesday 5 October 2021
Submissions from public exhibition were considered and the proposed law was adopted at a Council Meeting on Tuesday 5 October 2021.
Timeline item 9 - incomplete
Our new local law comes into effect
Tuesday 19 October 2021
Yarra's previous local law on drinking in public places expires, and the new part of the General Local Law comes into effect.