The State’s leading alcohol policy authority says it is pleased that some of the evidenced-based measures it has long called for have been endorsed by the NSW Liquor Act Review.
The NSW ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance (NAAPA) has welcomed the recommendations to introduce Risk Based Licensing, to give communities and local governments a greater say in liquor licensing decisions, and to introduce policies that consider the density of liquor licenses.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Director of Policy and Research, Caterina Giorgi, says NAAPA is encouraged by some of the Review recommendations but says the lack of action on trading hours is a glaring and baffling omission.
“I am encouraged by the recommendation of the Review that the industry start contributing to the significant cost that alcohol has on the community through the introduction of a risk based licensing fee. I am also pleased that the Review has acknowledged the evidence that the density of liquor outlets has a direct bearing on the level of harms in our local communities. However I am disappointed that on trading hours, the Review Chair has seen fit to ignore all of the evidence showing that later trading hours result in greater harms,” Ms Giorgi said.
Ms Giorgi says Minister Souris must now consult not just with the alcohol industry, but with all stakeholders to ensure the Review recommendations can be acted on appropriately.
“The handing down of the Review report is just the first step in addressing a Liquor Act that has failed to protect the people of NSW. It was broken at the commencement of the Liquor Act Review and it’s still broken today. The O’Farrell Government must now move on these recommendations, and prove to the people of NSW that it is committed to reducing the State’s heavy alcohol toll,” Ms Giorgi said.
Ms Giorgi says some of the reviews recommendations, such as Controlled Purchase Operations would not be enforceable and need further refinement, and says NAAPA looks forward to working with Minister Souris in the coming months to secure a better outcome for the people of New South Wales.
“There is still work to be done. We must guard against any attempt to water down the Act under the guise of red tape reduction and we must ensure that the Review’s recommendations such as the introduction of Controlled Purchase Operations aren’t undermined by a flawed implementation,” Ms Giorgi said.