Beer, wine and spirits laws will be amended to better protect consumers against counterfeit and illegal products, with amendments to the Liquor Act coming into force from January.
The Liquor Control Act, which is administered by the Victorian Department of Health and Ageing, will change the definition of counterfeit and illicit products to include alcohol, beer and spirits.
The amendments will also make it easier for police to enforce the law.
In Victoria, a person can be charged with an offence for selling counterfeit goods if:They cannot produce a genuine product and it is labelled with a false or misleading numberThe goods do not meet the requirements of the lawThe goods are not genuine, the quantity or quality of the product cannot be shown to be genuineThe seller can prove that the goods were not produced by the supplier they are a ‘fake’ product.
This will apply to goods produced in the Commonwealth and those imported into the state from overseas.
It comes as a blow to the hospitality industry, as the industry is expected to lose $5 billion over the next four years due to counterfeiting.
Beer, wine, spirits and cider will all be classed as illicit drugs, with the number of counterfeit products expected to increase by 30 per cent.
However, the Liquors Act will not make it illegal to buy a beer or two, or two litres of wine.
In a statement, Liquor Minister Scott Faucher said the Government was pleased to introduce a broad range of new penalties, including a fine of up to $250,000, and up to two years imprisonment.
“The amendments in the Liquour Act will enable us to ensure the quality of alcohol and wine is not only safe, but high-quality,” he said.
The changes to the law were first announced in December.
It means any person who buys or sells counterfeit or illegal products will be able to file a complaint with the Victorian Police Anti-Fraud Unit, or an enforcement action with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Crime Division.
“It is a matter of urgency to make sure that the Australian Consumer Law continues to protect consumers,” Mr Fauchers said.
Topics:law-crime-and-justice,community-and-(human-interest),alcohol,victoria-5000,australiaFirst posted January 24, 2019 12:27:13Contact Kate HarrisonMore stories from Victoria