10 point plan to reduce alcohol-related harms in NSW

Researcher

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

Summary

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has prepared a plan of action for the New South Wales (NSW) Government which includes ten evidence-based solutions to reduce alcohol-related harms. The plan acknowledges that no single strategy will reduce alcohol-related harms, and so instead a range of evidence-based strategies are required to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Outcomes

The ten point plan involves:

1. Wind back late night trading hours

FARE proposes that the NSW Government legislate to introduce a 12 month statewide trial of the reduction of trading hours based on the Newcastle alcohol restrictions, including:

  • a common 3.00am closing time for all pubs and clubs with extended trading license conditions across NSW;
  • lockouts at all extended trading licensed premises from 1.00am; and
  • the trial should be independently evaluated to ascertain the social, health, crime and economic effects of these trading controls. The data collection requirements for this independent evaluation should be in place from the commencement of the 12 month trial.

2. Impose a moratorium on late night trading

FARE proposes that the NSW Government adopt a state-wide moratorium that prevents new liquor licenses from trading after midnight.

3. Make late night licensed premises contribute to the costs of alcohol-related harms

FARE proposes that the NSW Government introduce a risk-based licensing fee system that offsets and attributes the cost to Government and the community of administering and managing the impact of alcohol use and misuse on the community.

4. Control the density of licensed premises

FARE proposes that the NSW Government:

  • establish and enforces saturation zones in areas that are identified as already having large numbers of liquor licences including the City of Sydney; and
  • introduce cumulative impact and cluster control policies for the determination of new liquor licenses.

5. Prevent the harmful discounting and promotion of alcohol

FARE proposes that the NSW Government strengthens the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) to prohibit the harmful discounting and promotion of alcohol products, and ensure that these measures are enforced.

6. Enforce responsible service of alcohol requirements

FARE proposes that the NSW Government:

  • introduce measures to better enforce RSA requirements in licensed venues throughout NSW, including Compliance Officers visiting licensed premises outside of regular business hours.
  • introduce requirements for OLGR and the NSW Police to publically report on compliance activities relating to the Liquor Act 2007, the number of venues inspected and their location, the times of day that these venues are inspected and the number of identified breaches of compliance.
  • prohibit the sale of shots, mixed drinks with more than 30ml of alcohol and ready mixed drinks stronger than five per cent alcohol by volume after 10pm;
  • prohibit the sale of more than four drinks to any patron at one time and a requirement to provide free water stations on every bar; and
  • prohibit the sale of alcohol mixed with energy drinks after midnight.

7. Give people a say on the availability of alcohol in their community

FARE proposes that the NSW Government:

  • extend the provisions for consultation processes set out in reg.11 of the Liquor Regulation 2008 to include the need for public consultation on new liquor licence applications; and
  • establish a service to support people and organisations that wish to raise concerns regarding new liquor licence applications.

8. Introduce appropriate transport and crowd management options in high density areas

FARE proposes that the NSW Government:

  • examine areas with high density of outlets and develop late night transport and crowd management plans; and
  • consider public transport operating times when issuing liquor licenses.

9. Further the evidence-base for alcohol-related policies through improved data collection

FARE proposes that the NSW Government:

  • resume the collection and publication of alcohol sales data in NSW and makes this data available to the National Alcohol Sales Data Project and other relevant agencies and research bodies; and
  • work collaboratively to improve processes for the collection and coding of alcohol harms data including data from ambulance services, hospitals and police.

10. Measure, evaluate and improve

FARE proposes that the NSW Government develop an evaluation framework for the assessment of alcohol-related policy reforms and undertakes or funds independent evaluations of them as they are implemented.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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