By James Atkinson
NSW bottle shops have questioned whether the state's police chief has any evidence to back up his claims that inadequate regulation of packaged liquor sales is somehow to blame for domestic violence.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione today revealed he had asked a new alcohol policy working group comprising senior police and bureaucrats to consider the easy availability of take-away alcohol, which he linked to persistently high rates of domestic violence. He also floated the idea of a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8.30pm.
LSA NSW CEO Terry Mott questioned the causal link of 'take-away' packaged liquor to domestic violence, "as opposed to people returning from a night out at a hotel, trendy bar or pub, club or licensed restaurant?"
"If the police are genuinely concerned about finding some real solutions to alcohol-related domestic violence, history shows us that any solutions are likely to take a more considered and holistic approach including modifying peoples' drinking behaviour than simply blame one retail sector," he said.
Mott also expressed his frustration at the failure of NSW authorities to engage with bottle shops on the issue of harm reduction.
"LSA NSW has consistently demonstrated willingness to be involved in evidence based initiatives to reduce alcohol related harms and have consistently approached the NSW Government, including key Ministers and the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) and NSW Police to engage with us on liquor industry related matters," he said.
"Yet time and time again we find ourselves hearing about government policies and initiatives after the fact and via the media," he said.
"LSA NSW again takes this opportunity to again encourage the Government, OLGR and NSW Police to engage all key stakeholders in policy initiatives involving the liquor industry."
LSA NSW said it will encourage members to support government interventions particularly where those interventions are evidence-based and proven to have some real impact on reducing harms from misuse of alcohol – "not simply placing more economic pressure on retailers through the regulatory environment".
"While our members continue to demonstrate that they are professional and responsible operators, we see an increasing burden of government red tape, regulation and cost being imposed on LSA NSW members' businesses and for what proven gain to the community?" the association said in a statement.