By James Atkinson
The Liquor Stores Association (NSW) has rejected the suggestion that it "strongarmed" the NSW Government into dropping its proposed ban on shopper docket discounts on alcohol.
Responding to yesterday's report by Fairfax, LSA NSW CEO Terry Mott said the association was invited by the NSW Government to make a comment on the redrafting of the promotional guidelines.
Mott said promotions for takeaway packaged liquor that will be consumed at a later time are very different from those in which the drink is required to be consumed within a short timeframe while at a pub, club, bar or restaurant.
"LSA NSW sought a clear distinction in the regulator's guidelines between promotions for on-premise and those for off-premise and maintain the heritage of the guidelines as advice to pubs and clubs," he said.
"This was to ensure standard retailing practices didn't get caught unintentionally in guidelines written for pubs and clubs."
He reaffirmed the association's view that price promotions for take away packaged liquor clearly relate to price only and there is no association with messages for the alcohol to be rapidly consumed, or to encourage irresponsible drinking behaviour.
"In fact, the liquor industry is selling the opposite message, with strong support for DrinkWise Australia, responsible service of alcohol training, and the industry initiatives "ID-25" to check ID on people under 25 and "Don't Buy It For Them" to not serve people when we believe the sale is for an underage person," the association said in a statement.
LSA NSW reiterated that Australia's per capita alcohol consumption continues to decline, as does the percentage of the population drinking at risky levels.
"There is no evidence to suggest that alcohol purchased as part of a take away packaged liquor store price promotion is being immediately consumed at risky levels," it said.
We didn't backflip: OLGR
Meanwhile, the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing today joined in rejecting the notion that it had been strongarmed by the LSA and the supermarket chains.
"While the views of industry stakeholders are considered, they are but one of a wide range of factors taken into account by the Government. Industry consultation ensures the Government has full knowledge of industry operations and consumer behaviours and can ensure its regulatory activities have maximum impact in targeting high risk activities and operators," OLGR said.
"OLGR has substantially increased its activities to target irresponsible alcohol promotions over the past year, issuing 77 show cause notices and 41 written directions restricting or prohibiting promotions in 2012-13."
"OLGR has issued show cause notices to Coles and Woolworths in relation to the shopper docket promotions and is considering its position in relation to any regulatory action."