Police have responded to industry concerns regarding the request to limit the sale of alcohol on Australia Day to drinks less than four percent, by agreeing not to enforce the limit and allowing it to be voluntary.

Liquor Stores Association (LSA) of NSW CEO Terry Mott told TheShout this afternoon (Jan 15) that LSA NSW and other industry associations have been actively working with government to modify their request.

“We are committed to work together with Police and the Offices of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) to formulate a resolution. They have responded by saying this is a voluntary request and it will not be enforced,” Mott said.

Chief Inspector Guy Haberley this week emailed liquor accords across New South Wales asking licensees not to sell drinks with an alcohol content of more than four per cent before 2pm along with a range of other measures.

The request has led industry bodies like LSA of NSW to seek clarification on this issue from the OLGR and the NSW Police Minister.

The government has indicated this does not reflect policy and police have issued follow-up advice confirming this is not a regulatory requirement – and will not be enforced.

“There is no evidence that suggests preventing everyday Australians from buying a bottle of wine, a mixed drink, or a full-strength beer to share at a family lunch on Australia Day will do anything to reduce alcohol-related excessive drinking, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime and violence,” said Mott.

“Any intervention to prevent responsible family groups from sharing a drink over a traditional Australia Day lunch will not influence the minority who commit acts of antisocial behaviour.

“While the LSA NSW has reminded all members to be vigilant on RSA principles at all times, it is impractical for retailers to not sell some products above four per cent.”

Bottle store owners contacted by TheShout have generally been bemused by the request with some questioning exactly what brands under four percent alcohol they were meant to sell and how staff would be expected to explain the restrictions to irate customers.

The Shout Team

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

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