Bruce Thompson, chairman of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, has tendered his resignation after more than five years in the role.

His departure follows pressure from the Australian government amid allegations of a lack of direction, a drop in standards and claims of bullying within the department. The liquor and gaming authorities were merged together three years ago.

The state’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Jane Garrett, said that she had accepted Thompson’s resignation with a new chairman to be appointed later next month.

Minister Garrett said that the Commission will now revamp its staff and policies to set a new direction, with a focus on effective compliance, action and certainty for industry, local communities and consumers.

Regional areas will be one of the important priorities with regional inspections of licensed venues to be increased. This follows claims that the number of liquor and gaming inspections conducted on Victorian pubs, clubs and restaurants have fallen by around 70 per cent in the past four years.

Minister Garrett said that the Victorian community needed to have confidence that its interests are being served by an effective regulator attuned to the risks and problems that can emerge.

“The Liberals’ botched merger of the liquor and gaming regulators has failed the people of Victoria,” she said. “We want to see venues checked thoroughly and regularly across the state to build a safer, stronger industry.”

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