The National Retail Association (NRA) has called on the Western Australia Government to “engage meaningfully” with all stakeholders in the packaged liquor industry as part of the state’s licensing reforms.

The NRA said that the proposed reforms to restaurant and on-premise liquor licensing strike a sensible balance and should be used as the template for proposed changes to packaged liquor sales.

The NRA’s Manager, Industry Policy, David Stout said the association wanted to work with the Government to ensure modern-day shopping needs are being met by a competitive retail sector.

“We recognise that liquor is enjoyed by the vast majority of Western Australians but does cause harm when abused,” Stout said.

“This necessitates a need for liquor regulation, but we need to make sure that we get the balance right between ensuring the majority of the population have access to world-class retail offerings while protecting those most vulnerable.

“We also need to ensure we don’t harm the employment prospects of young West Australians, particularly in regional areas, who rely on jobs in retail to get their start in the workforce.

“We commend the government’s determination to achieve the policy goal of safer communities. We want to help them achieve that while minimising the impact on business and ensuring the changes are implemented in the most consumer-friendly way possible.

“The NRA is ready to work with the WA Government to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved.”

Stout also questioned whether some of the proposals currently on the table, including proximity limits, store size limits and reintroducing a Needs Test, would achieve the goals of reducing liquor sales and alcohol abuse in the community.

“The digital economy has not only changed the game for retailers – it’s also changed the way governments need to think when they are setting policy.

“It doesn’t make much sense to formulate policy that applies only to “bricks and mortar” retailers when customers can use their smartphone to access hundreds of competitive liquor offers with an almost endless range of products.

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to find a solution that truly achieves the policy goals and delivers the best result for consumers, businesses, workers and vulnerable members of the community.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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