By Andy Young
The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) has dismissed claims that new liquor licensing laws in Queensland, which restrict bottle shop trading hours, will have a positive impact.
ALSA CEO Terry Mott said similar measures in New South Wales have failed to live up to expectations adding the laws will disadvantage Queenslanders, visitors and bottleshop staff.
“According to data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the statewide-forced 10pm close for bottle-shops in NSW did not change the rate of alcohol-related domestic violence from its previous downward trend line,” Mott said.
“Liquor stores are strongly committed to promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol, as evidenced by our highly successful ‘ID25’ campaign where any person who looks under 25 will be asked for identification if they attempt to purchase alcohol.
“ALSA members have proposed alternative targeted approaches, rather than across-the-board attempts to reduce overall alcohol consumption because such an approach impacts on all consumers, not only the small minority who may behave poorly.
“With the retail liquor supporting more than 165,000 Australian jobs, it’s vital to get the balance right between respecting individual freedoms and protecting the broader community from harm.”
The new laws mean that from 1 July, there will be no new approvals for bottleshops to trade past 10pm, although retail liquor outlets with existing approvals will remain.
“While the majority of bottle-shops in Queensland do not have sufficient customers to justify opening after 10pm, there is still demand for packaged liquor after 10pm in selected areas, particularly high-density living areas, inner city café, BYO restaurants or entertainment and tourist zones which attract a high number of interstate and overseas visitors,” Mott added.
“Workers returning home late, a few friends picking up a snack on the way home from a late show, concert or dinner and overseas visitors who are used to more freedoms in their home country trading hours are all examples of people who rely on bottle-shops being open after 10pm.
“Empowering responsible adults to exercise their own choices is an important point which must not be forgotten in this public policy debate.”