Booze report: What the government is likely to do.

p2160-Natasha-FylesLETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – The government has welcomed the Alcohol Policy and Legislation Review by the chair of the Expert Alcohol Panel and former Chief Justice of the NT, Trevor Riley.

 

The review provides 220 recommendations on reforms to alcohol policy and legislation, after identifying an ad-hoc system that isn’t fit for purpose. Many of the suggested reforms will require extensive changes and have widespread impact on community and business.

 

These need to be examined at length before a detailed government response can be delivered. The government has given support in principle to:–

 

• Overhauling the Liquor Act which will likely include changes to license categories and fees including risk based licensing.

 

• Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission to increase transparency, with decisions to be made based on a new public interest and community impact test.

 

• Focusing harm reduction measures on the density of liquor licences and volume of alcohol sales. This is a policy shift away from floor size restrictions and will require the repeal of 400m2 legislation. This means that any application, including Dan Murphy’s, will need to be considered by the Liquor Commission and satisfy the public interest and community impact test.

 

• Implementing a floor price on alcohol products to prevent alcohol related harms and continue to lobby the Federal government for a volumetric tax.

 

• POSIs and TBLs will remain a tool for police. Uniformed licensing inspectors will be authorised to assist police.

 

• Establishing a central unit in the Department of the Chief Minister to drive reforms.

 

We will today enact a complete moratorium on all new take away licenses including greenfield sites.

 

We have ruled out banning the sale of take away alcohol on Sundays.

 

We provide in principle support to recommendations around FASD, early childhood and education, treatment and sobering up shelters.

 

The detailed response to the report is expected to be complete by early next year.

 

Natasha Fyles

Attorney-General and Minister for Health

 

 

 

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4 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Ray
    Posted October 23, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    One of the issues I saw Mr Gunner speaking about was community clubs, whereby they can decide upon their alcohol policy dependent on what that community wants.
    However, I do not remember exactly what was said. At first I thought he was talking about local clubs like the golf club, Gillen, Club eastside etc.
    I gave it more thought and realized he was probably alluding to “wet canteens” on communities.
    This would be worthwhile looking into Erwin, as it seems to one of the recommendations that have slipped under the radar.
    If there is an opportunity for remote communities to sell alcohol, there could well be a reduction in road deaths, but also a massive increase in domestic violence.
    How would that effect finding staff such as nurses, teachers, police etc for these communities?
    I may have simply misheard what the CM said, but if I am correct, this could be a massive can of worms.

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  2. Careful with that $, Eugene
    Posted October 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    In response to R Henry on Oct 20th, on who gets the extra markup money?
    There is very little brand loyalty to the cheap brands of Chardonnay amongst our dedicated alcohol-drinking punters: They are after the cheapest hit of alcohol for their buck, regardless of its host liquid, not for their next taste of the rank Calabrian / Bortoli products.
    Since the vast majority of shoppers generally shift their choice to better value for money when confronted with higher prices (and this happened when Clare Martin knocked the cheapest wines and sherries off the shelves in October 2006: there was a massive shift to beer), there is unlikely to be very much windfall profits via extra markup.
    To the extent that there are any windfalls, they are unlikely to be anywhere near commensurate with the decrease in profits that are likely to occur because of the overall impacts of a number of the proposed reforms.
    To see if I am correct, keep your ears open for the sounds of the interstate alcohol industry cartels – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and their paid public relations reps squealing about the alleged injustice, unfairness and unworkability of these visionary evidence-based reforms.
    It is going to be an interesting war, and the outcome will decide whether the NT has any future worth speaking about.

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  3. Concerned Citizen
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I can see Dr John Boffa of PAAC jumping up and down saying “we’ve won, we’ve won” over the implementation of a floor price on alcohol.
    Well, guess what, he represents the minority about 3% so we the majority are expected to suffer because of them.
    What about the poor old pensioners, tourists, law abiding citizens and others who will now have to pay $9 to $10 for a cheap bottle of wine, let alone what we will be ripped off for spirits and other liquors.
    If you watched Channel 9 News tonight Interstate they are promoting cheap wines from $3.50 on. This amounts to total discrimination against the average citizen.

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  4. R Henry
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    What I have always wanted to know is with a “floor price” who gets the extra markup money? I feel if the price is to be “marked up” as a control measure the extra money should go to alcohol rehabilitation.

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