Yarra Council has updated its rules on public drinking, adopting the Consumption of Liquor in Public Places Local Law 2019 at the Council Meeting on Tuesday 8 October 2019.

The new local law will operate for the next two years, rather than the standard 10.

During this time Council will be working to address issues raised by our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and exploring opportunities for health-based responses to public drinking.

This decision was made after carefully considering more than 250 community submissions across two rounds of public consultation.

Council's formal resolution to adopt the local law and a media release explaining its decision can be viewed here.

About the new local law

The new local law is almost identical to its predecessor, which has operated for the past 10 years. Most of the updates from the existing local law relate to reducing repetition and making it easier to understand.

Generally speaking, the new local law prohibits the drinking of alcohol (and the carrying of alcohol in open containers) in public places within the City of Yarra.

Some public places are excluded from these rules. These are known as ‘prescribed areas’. Drinking and carrying alcohol in open containers is allowed in these area between 9.00am and 9.00pm.

The proposed Local Law also empowers Yarra Council to vary these rules at certain times and places to facilitate festivals and events.

The current list of prescribed areas list can be viewed here and a map version is also available.

You can view the new local law here, along with a summary of changes from the preceding local law.

Summary of second community consultation (Aug/Sep 2019)

Following a initial period of community consultation earlier this year (see below) we updated the proposed local law and invited formal submissions.

Level of engagement

  • 31 website submissions
  • 2 email submissions
  • 1 meeting with key stakeholders

Some of the key issues raised

  • It will unfairly impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • It will unfairly impact people facing disadvantage
  • More parks and median strips should be Prescribed Areas
  • Concentrate on anti-social behaviour rather than alcohol use
  • Concern about extension of Council powers
  • Public drinking should be entirely prohibited
  • Public drinking should be not be prohibited
  • Focus instead on education/health approaches to alcohol harms
  • 9pm is too early a cut off, especially during summer
  • Alcohol use makes parks less welcoming
  • It won’t be adequately enforced
  • Strongly against any tightening of restrictions
  • Support for the proposed local law and belief that it is reasonable
  • Pleased that it still allows people to drink responsibly
  • Public intoxication is prohibited, therefore the local law is not required
  • The prescribed areas list should be in map form
  • Public drinking should be limited to licensed events
  • The local law is too complex
  • Concern for the welfare of young children exposed to people drinking
  • Public drinking should not begin before 11am

You can download a copy of the summary here.

Summary of first community consultation (June/July 2019)

More than 200 community members responded to our call for comment on the first draft of the updated local law.

Level of engagement

  • 241 online survey responses
  • 8 hard copy survey responses
  • 30 discussions at pop-up session at Gleadell Street Market

Support for draft Local Law (survey results and selected quotes)

  • 30% were highly supportive
    • “I like to have a drink in the local park with a BBQ and my family!”
    • “it's a good balance of supporting community events while protecting public safety”
    • “I think that it is a fair system and having the ability to drink in a park is a privilege.”
    • “Sensible changes.”
  • 37% were moderately supportive
    • “I think the 9am is too early.”
    • “these types of public drinking spaces are vital for some people's social engagement”
    • “the most vulnerable in our community will be disproportionately affected”
    • “I think 9pm is too early, it should align with the sun setting in summer.”
  • 33% were not supportive
    • “I am concerned with wording that no longer requires an officer to actually observe an infringement”
    • “Alcohol consumption should be banned in all public places…”
    • “casually drinking a beer in the street (while not being intoxicated) should not be an offence”
    • “The main objective should be to control anti-social behaviour. Blanket bans on alcohol do not achieve this…

You can download a copy of the summary here.

Submission Form

Any person affected by the proposed local law has the right to make a submission under section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989.
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