This submission was prepared by FARE in response to the Draft Report of the Competition Policy Review, which will potentially result in the further liberalisation of the sale of alcohol in Australia. FARE addresses the application of the Competition Policy and makes five key recommendations to the Review Panel about alcohol policy in Australia.
- FARE urges the Competition Policy Review Panel to further consider the social and health harms that could result from recommendations that arise from this review, and ensure that this process does not result in the increased availability of alcohol and subsequent alcohol-related harms.
- FARE urges the Competition Policy Review Panel to more concertedly acknowledge the harms that alcohol causes and assert that the balancing test for the regulation of alcohol be the effectiveness of regulations to minimise the harms caused by alcohol, not competition in access and sale.
- FARE urges the Competition Policy Review Panel to ensure that Competition Policy does not interfere with the legitimate rights of communities and sovereign entities to exercise their democratic rights to regulate alcohol through planning and zoning controls and Liquor Licensing.
- FARE urges the Competition Policy Review Panel to ensure that Competition Policy does not interfere with the rights of state and territory governments to impose controls on the sale of alcohol to limit the trading hours of outlets, the type of outlets (including supermarkets) and the number of outlets in the interest of community safety and wellbeing.
- FARE urges the Competition Policy Review Panel to carefully consider the application of Competition Policy to alcohol and other drug treatment in Australia, acknowledging that:
a. Competitive tendering processes may further exacerbate division within the sector, place a high administrative burden on providers and favour larger services with resources to respond, thereby reducing competition.
b. Outcome based funding models such as payment by results are inappropriate for alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment; as these would negatively impact on individuals receiving treatment and further affect the financial viability of many services.