By James Atkinson
As the battle between Coles and Woolworths intensifies, the Liquor Stores Association NSW has poured scorn on claims by the state's pubs that lower prices in bottle shops lead to excessive drinking.
Australian Hotels Association (NSW) director of policing and regulations, John Greens, today said the slashing of prices by liquor barns of up to 31 per cent was "totally irresponsible".
"Hoteliers – and the residents living nearby – are sick to death of having to put up with drunken louts who have 'pre-fuelled' at home, turning up and
causing trouble when they are refused entry," he said.
"Licensed premises have strict responsible service of alcohol measures in place as well as their own pro-active measures, yet the Government is not as keen to impose any standards on the bulk liquor barns springing up across NSW."
But this was slammed as ridiculous by the LSA, with its NSW president Giuseppe Minissale – who owns five Porters Liquor stores – telling TheShout there was no evidence whatsoever to support the AHA's claims.
"Just because you discount something doesn't mean people drink more," he said.
"The parallels they are trying to draw are ludicrous. I mean if they cut the price of milk to $1 a litre do people drink more milk?
"All this leads to is maybe some pantry-stocking."
LSA NSW CEO Terry Mott said Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that overall per capita alcohol consumption in Australia has been flat or declining for the last three decades, since peaking in the mid 1970s.
If the AHA's argument was correct, he said, overall levels of consumption would have risen dramatically over the last five to ten years, along with the growth of large outlets and discount liquor pricing across Australia.