The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)’s submission to the Independent Review of the Impact of Liquor Law Reforms examines the harm and costs associated with trends in alcohol consumption in Australian in order to provide evidence-based policy recommendations for the continued reduction in the burden of alcohol in New South Wales (NSW).
Liquor licences are a privilege granted by government, as an agent for the public interest, not a right. This privilege behoves licensees to be responsive to the risks generated as a by-product of their profit imperative to sell more liquor over longer periods of time. In light of the egregious rates of alcohol harms and their associated costs, the NSW Government has acted to remedy the imbalance created by alcohol industry business models that have acted to increase profits at the expense of individuals, government and society. The measures constitute a proportional and justifiable compensatory measure to deliver reductions in alcohol harm. The substantial reduction in alcohol-related assaults and harmful consumption strikes a balance to accommodate continued business operation while protecting against such externalities. To roll back these measures would undermine the corrective justice that they have delivered, and threatens to reinstate the significant levels of harm caused by alcohol which was inflicted on the people of NSW prior to their introduction.
FARE supports continued efforts to reduce alcohol-related harm and its associated costs. Ample evidence exists to suggest that the new measures have been effective in reducing alcohol-related violence in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts.
Based on the evidence presented in this submission, FARE recommends the following actions to further reduce the burden of alcohol on NSW communities:
- Maintain the 3am cease of alcohol sales and 1:30am lockout, and extend these policies to all venues in NSW.
- Maintain the 10pm takeaway liquor sales restriction at all NSW venues.
- Maintain the current freeze on new liquor licences and extended trading hour applications in the City of Sydney, and extend this measure beyond February 2017.
- Increase the rate of fees under the periodic licence fee scheme to recover more of the expenses associated with the administration of the licensing system and with alcohol-related harm.