By James Wells

Senator Simon Birmingham, who has previously worked for the Winemakers Federation of Australia and Australian Hotels Association, has given his support to the 2017 State of the Industry Report.

In a speech delivered at Parliament House last week, during the final negotiations of the Company Tax changes in the Senate, Birmingham addressed the liquor industry at the launch event hosted by the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA).

"It is a pleasure to have accepted Terry’s invitation to say a few words tonight – I have known [ALSA CEO] Terry Mott  for over 20 years – well prior to my entry into the Senate, during my pre-Senate days working with Mr [Andrew] Wilsmore at the Hotels Association or then spending some time with the Winemakers Federation and getting to know many of the issues as well as products that you happen to sell so proudly sell to all Australians," the Senator said.

"I just wanted to reflect on two key messages – one of opportunity and the other of responsibility, and they are key messages contained in the State of the Industry Report. They are core commitments that your sector brings to all that you do and strive to do as responsible liquor store operators around the country.

"Opportunity is encapsulated first and foremost in the more 47,000 direct jobs that you support and underpin across the economy – providing opportunity for people who want flexible working hours, providing opportunity for young people engaged in other forms of educational training to be able to work alongside their study commitments, providing opportunity equally for those who will seek professional opportunities working in the large sector of alcohol products and beverages in terms of pursing other jobs that can be leveraged off of work within the retail sector or indeed professionalism within the increasingly high quality areas of the retail sector.

"They are real opportunities, they are valued jobs, they are important jobs, they of course provide a kickstart to the careers of many young people as well as important ongoing jobs for many thousands of Australians."

Senator Birmingham added: "Equally, it is all done with the knowledge of your unique responsibility – you sell licensed products, you are licensed operators. You operate in a very regulated environment and that is never going to change, of course you seek efficiency and the lightest touch of regulation that you can but given the products that you sell you accept naturally that there is a significant role for regulation and a significant responsibility that comes to your sector in terms of ensuring that you sell your products in a responsible manner and in accordance with the social license you were granted along with the regulatory licenses to operate. And it is a credit to this sector that of course we do have in Australia a well-regarded, well-respected, well-regulated sector that operates with that strong social license and acceptance of the way in which you largely do business.

"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to launch the State of the Industry Report tonight and to congratulate you on your work. To say clearly, that as a Government, that is working very hard right now to try to get some better company tax arrangements through the Senate that start by particularly targeting small and medium sized enterprises, that we are absolutely committed to making a better environment in which to do business, in which to invest and to create more jobs and more opportunities for more young people and all Australians and we are with you entirely to make sure that you have the chance to do that and to grow your sector and seize the opportunities that are available to you."

The ALSA-IRI State of the Industry Report was officially launched in Canberra last week and is now available to ALSA members via the association's website.

The Shout Team

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

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