Community and women’s safety organisations want higher standards to prevent harm from the online sale and rapid delivery of alcohol, as new polling shows Queenslanders support measures like penalties for companies delivering alcohol products to children and people who are intoxicated.
As the Queensland government considers changes to online alcohol sale laws, a Pureprofile poll found only 21.6% of people believe the state government is doing enough to address alcohol harms, while 41.4% believe the government isn’t doing enough and 37% are unsure.
Most people surveyed support identification being verified when someone places an alcohol order online (73.3%), at the point of delivery (78.3%), and that alcohol is not delivered after 10pm (55.3%).
The survey found people overwhelmingly believe companies should face strong penalties if they deliver alcohol to children (88.4%) and to people who are intoxicated (62.8%). There was also significant support that people delivering alcohol be required to have responsible service of alcohol training (66.4%).
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) CEO Caterina Giorgi said the new data showed strong community support for reforms to reduce harm from the sale and marketing of alcohol online.
“When every phone is a bottle shop, it dramatically increases the availability of alcohol and the potential for harm. At a time when deaths caused by alcohol are at their highest in a decade, we must be doing all we can to prevent harm,” Ms Giorgi said.
“The community deserves strong protections to reduce the significant harm that alcohol drives, much of it behind closed doors, including injuries, accidents and family and domestic violence, and alcohol dependency. Alcohol companies and retailers must also be held accountable for harmful practices that promote higher risk drinking or push alcohol to people who are most vulnerable.”
DVConnect Director of Clinical Governance Michelle Royes said checks and balances were needed to address the increased risk of family domestic and sexual violence created by the increased availability and accessibility of alcohol in Queensland.
“Alcohol contributes to significant harm across the state, including family, domestic and sexual violence – and when it is delivered online, this harm is often invisible,” she said.
“Allowing companies to deliver alcohol without checks and balances is creating a dangerous situation in people’s homes. A two-hour safety pause, and penalties for companies that deliver alcohol to people who are intoxicated, are common sense measures to reduce this risk of significant harm.”
Ms Royes said most cases of sexual violence took place in private residences, making policies to reduce this risk critical to reducing harm.
“As alcohol can be a risk factor in sexual violence, the ability to get it delivered to the home without proper regulations or safety supports, creates additional risk to the community,” she said.
More than 70 per cent of women who accessed domestic violence victim support through the statewide DVConnect helpline reported that alcohol consumption had been a factor in their case.
The Pureprofile poll commissioned by FARE also found strong support for reforms to protect the community from harmful digital alcohol marketing.
Most people surveyed supported ensuring children’s online activity (81.4%) and anyone’s online activity (75%) is not collected to market alcohol products, while 78.2% supported not allowing alcohol companies to send push notifications. There was also significant support (78.5%) for alcohol companies to face strong penalties when advertising to people who have opted out.
If you have experienced family, domestic or sexual violence, support is available through the 1800 Respect National Helpline on 1800 737 732