Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has responded to questions in State Parliament over concerns relating to liquor restrictions saying, “We are doing our best in a difficult situation”.
Under the restrictions that were announced last week, a person can purchase one carton; three bottles of wine; one litre of spirits; one litre of fortified wine; or a combination of any two (but not the same product).
But this came under criticism as alcohol suppliers in eastern states quickly started targeting Western Australian consumers.
Liberal MP Alyssa Hayden, who is the opposition spokesperson for small business and tourism asked the Premier during question time why online liquor merchants from interstate could still sell cheap and unlimited alcohol in WA, but local retailers had to comply with the restrictions.
“It’s a good point and it is very difficult, in fact impossible to control trade between the states, so it’s a difficult issue to resolve,” answered McGowan.
“We have done our best to restrict the overwhelming number of people who purchase alcohol to ensure they purchase responsibly. What we saw in the supermarkets over the course of the last month has been very unseemly, unnecessary and inappropriate and we didn’t want to see the same thing happening in our bottle shops.
“I think we struck the right balance, we ensured that there was enough for everyone, and we ensured that there wasn’t those massive runs on bottle shops that we saw in supermarkets.
“Is our solution perfect? It’s probably not perfect but we’ve done our best in a difficult situation.”
The Liquor Stores Association (LSA WA) would like to work with the State Government on a solution that will protect local jobs.
“We understand these are unprecedented times to what we consider normal and the level of pressure and stress all governments across Australia are facing,” says LSA WA, CEO, Peter Peck.
“Going forward we just hope the State Government will seek and listen to our advice. We are all aligned on the outcome and that is keeping Western Australia safe. But we also want to ensure local jobs as much as possible.
“We feel quite positive that by working with the Premier and the Emergency Committee we can find some common ground.”