New South Wales has tightened regulation around same day alcohol deliveries, with legislation reforms coming into effect as of yesterday.
A range of new laws are now being phased in to help prevent harm related to the online sale and delivery of alcohol to minors and people who are intoxicated. As of July 1, a range of new offences have been introduced, including:
- delivering to a minor or intoxicated person, whether the delivery is made on the same day or later,
- delivering alcohol outside specified same day delivery hours, and
- not providing an online avenue for self-exclusion.
Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, said: “Demand for online alcohol sales has grown in recent years, including during the pandemic, and we need to ensure our laws reflect this changing landscape and prioritise safety.
“These changes are an Australian first and ensure there are fit-for-purpose laws for the range of alcohol delivery business models that have emerged – particularly same day deliveries. They follow consultation with industry stakeholders.
“The new laws raise the standards for providers and delivery people, making them more like those that apply at physical bottle shop businesses. Gone are the days of a minor trying to use a credit card online to purchase alcohol illegally. Those offering alcohol for same day delivery will have an explicit obligation to verify that the person placing the order is 18 years or older.”
The reforms include a range of requirements for both licensees (and other providers), as well as delivery staff. Retail Drinks Australia has welcomed such reforms, many of which are modelled on the Retail Drinks Online Alcohol Sale & Delivery Code of Conduct, which has been in place for two years now. CEO Michael Waters said that by proactively becoming signatories to the code, members operating in this space had already demonstrated their commitment to the responsible retailing actions that are now legislated.
“With many of the NSW Government’s same-day delivery laws formally in place, the regulatory environment now closely mirrors the framework created by our Code which has recently been recognised by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) as best-practice. Many of the practices adopted by Retail Drinks’ members who operate in accordance with the Code in fact go above and beyond the NSW Government’s new laws,” Waters said.
“We have appreciated the collaboration with NSW Government over the past several years in designing a robust legislative framework for same day alcohol deliveries.
“Retail Drinks helped coordinate an industry working group to co-design the new Responsible Supply of Alcohol online training course, designed to ensure that all same day delivery drivers are not only aware of their responsibilities, but to help reduce the risk of intoxicated and underage service.”
The reforms also note a range of other requirements that will take effect later this year and next year. For example, from 1 December 2021, all delivery persons, licensees and other providers must successfully undertake approved responsible supply training and knowledge tests.
Then, from 1 June 2022, a customer’s age will need to be verified when an online order is made, and systems need to be in place to authenticate the identity of regular customers. This is something which the industry is already working towards with technology providers.
Waters said: “To help inform, educate and assist both industry and government with the new online age verification requirements coming into effect from June 2022, Retail Drinks also recently coordinated a successful ‘industry-first’ Age Verification Pilot with key stakeholders, and plans for an expanded phase 2 of the Pilot are underway.
“Retail Drinks will continue to work closely with each of our members, the broader retail liquor industry and the NSW Government prior to the remainder of these changes coming into effect.”