By James Atkinson
The Liquor Stores Association (NSW) has welcomed the findings of an independent review of NSW liquor legislation as a “refreshing and transparent review of the issues and the facts”.
The report makes made 91 recommendations including:
- Creation of a ‘one-stop-shop’ website for the community, local councils and industry to access information and assistance and initiate action on liquor licence applications and alcohol related problems caused by licensed venues;
- Annual risk-based liquor licence fees for NSW licensed venues;
- A coordinated planning and liquor licensing system to remove duplication and facilitate community input in considering social impact and local neighbourhood issues associated with liquor licence applications;
- Local councils to be able to make submissions to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority to change an existing licensed venue’s trading hours to address community issues;
- Incorporation of venue capacity limits set by local councils into liquor licence conditions;
- Publishing of reasons for decisions for hotel, bottle shop, nightclub and extended trading applications as well as regulatory and enforcement actions;
- Strengthened mandatory training for licensees of high risk venues and tailored responsible service of alcohol training for other industry workers; and
- Creation of a statutory position of Director of Licensing to increase efficiency and reduce complexity for low risk liquor applications.
LSA NSW CEO Terry Mott welcomed the report’s acknowledgement that per capita alcohol consumption continued to decline even while the number of packaged liquor licences in NSW increased by 38.3 per cent over the last five years.
“The report also noted that there had been a 12 per cent decrease in the rates of alcohol-related domestic violence over the same five-year period and drew the conclusion that, ‘there does not appear to be a direct correlation between rates of domestic violence overall and the state-wide increase in the number of packaged liquor outlets’,” said Mott.
LSA NSW also noted that the report did not recommend state-wide collection of retail liquor sales data due to the significant changes in the pattern of alcohol sales over recent years and the significant challenges to interpret sales data against apparent consumption in any given locality, with the complexities of large format destination outlets, cellar-door and on-line sales growth.