By Andrew Starke

The AHA (NSW) has thrown its support behind NSW health and community groups who have raised concerns at the ambitious plans by supermarket giant ALDI to expand into the state’s cheap bulk liquor market.

As previously reported by TheShout, ALDI has made an application to sell liquor at 102 of its NSW stores.

“Bulk discounted liquor is the elephant in the room,” AHA (NSW) CEO Sally Fielke said.

“It is indicative that while the debate rages on about the responsible service of alcohol the issue of the responsible consumption of alcohol is totally ignored.

“We do not need to see even more bulk liquor barns selling alcohol cheaper than bottled water.

“Alcohol isn’t bread or milk or toilet paper. When you discount bread or milk or toilet paper there is no social cost.

“However, heavily discounting alcohol has a huge social cost and we are seeing that every day in our suburbs, our cities and towns which is why NSW Health and the AHA (NSW) is objecting to ALDI’s move.”

Last month ALDI said it would follow the model it has used in other states: licensed premises mostly in-store, boutique and featuring mainly premium brands.

However media reports have suggested that ALDI also plans to sell alcohol over the phone and via the internet from a warehouse near Liverpool.

This has been met with resistance from both NSW Health and the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, which has made a submission against the supermarket chain selling liquor in the area.

While ALDI plans to gain market share at the expense of retail rivals Coles and Woolworths, Fielke said it was concerning that more than 70 percent of alcohol purchased is consumed away from licensed premises.

“We need to foster the right environment for the responsible consumption of alcohol, not create even better conditions for out of control drinking and “pre-fuelling,” she said.

“Just last year we had a case at Lake Macquarie where young drinkers were having alcohol delivered to their door from bulk liquor outlets.

“Three police blitzes in recent months in Sydney alone – one just last weekend – have netted dozens of drunken teens and pre-teens.”

‘Pre-fuelling’ is the term for the actions of some hotel patrons, often in their early twenties, who get drunk at home on cheap alcohol before heading out to licensed premises and nightspots.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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