Australian Liquor Stores Association CEO Terry Mott explains the new retailer recording amendments and how a moratorium against prosecution will work for retailers.

“The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) coordinated an urgent meeting of retail, wholesale and hospitality sector members in Adelaide last Friday (Dec 3) with the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (AWBC).

ALSA and other industry members had only recently become aware of new retailer recording amendments under the AWBC Label Integrity Program (LIP).

An inadvertent breach and subsequent prosecution of a retailer could have resulted in maximum penalties including two years imprisonment!

The previously unheralded amendments came into effect on September 1, 2010, legally requiring retailers to record all wine sales, including detailed information by variety, geographic indication and for each separate vintage.

The vast majority of Australian liquor retailers’ and wholesalers were unable to comply with these requirements, without a significant investment in time and money.

To comply, would have required ongoing separate bar codes for each vintage release, modified warehousing space and systems, stock control and retail POS systems.

ALSA met with AWBC, the office of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and also coordinated the meeting in Adelaide last Friday in a bid to resolve the issue.

The AWBC have now recognised that the potential burden on the sector was greater than anticipated and would be unduly onerous.

The AWBC have undertaken not to initiate action against retailers for any breaches of the LIP, pending implementation of changes to be recommended to the Minister for the regulations to exempt retailers and wholesalers from the Label Integrity Program requirements.

AWBC have also undertaken to consult ALSA and other retail distribution chain groups on any further changes to the AWBC Act that may in the future impact on the retail sector.

ALSA welcomed the level of cooperation and looked forward to working with the Corporation, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, along with the Minister, to ensure the AWBC Act LIP regulations are amended to exempt the retail & wholesale sector as soon as is practical.”

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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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