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Restrictions on the sale and supply of alcohol in Australia



  1. Associate Professor Tanya Chikritzhs, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
  2. Professor Dennis Gray, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
  3. Ms Zaza Lyons, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
  4. Professor Sherry Saggers, Edith Cowan University.


This study provides a comprehensive response to questions about what works and where in relation to the many and varied restrictions on the sale and supply of alcohol in the form of controls on its economic and physical availability. Many of the restrictions studied relate to remote Indigenous communities.


Restrictions for which there is strong evidence for positive outcomes, including substantial or compelling concurring evidence of effectiveness in an Australian context include restrictions on the economic availability of alcohol, such as taxation and pricing; restrictions on the hours and days of sale for licensed premises; and restrictions on legal drinking age for purchase or consumption of alcohol.

Restrictions for which there is evidence for positive outcomes, but which may need ongoing substantial functional support, include restrictions on access to high risk alcoholic beverages, limiting the outlet density of licensed premises and the ownership of private liquor licenses, the enforcement of responsible beverage service practices, community based programs and dry community declarations, and additional mandatory packages of restrictions for remote and regional communities.

Restrictions for which current evidence is unclear or insufficient include restrictions on entry and re-entry for nightclub patrons, for example, ‘lockout’ provisions. There are some restrictions for which there remains an absence of evidence in terms of a positive effect on alcohol consumption. In addition, there may be some evidence for counter-productive outcomes for some restrictions. Restrictions in this category include RSA and community based programs that lack enforcement.

This study found that the key factors for positive change were effective enforcement, consideration of the substitution practices and displacement of drinkers, meeting the specific and changing needs of the target population, community support and control, awareness of restrictions within the community, evidence-based initiatives including situational suitability and evidence for outcomes and specific recommendations for regional, remote, and Indigenous communities.


National Drug Research Institute 2007 Restrictions on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol: Evidence and Outcomes. Perth: National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology.

Recent research papers

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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