Late night trading hours and alcohol harms
Every parent of a young person fears that phone call in the middle of the night to say that their child has been injured following an altercation during a night out on the town. The last drinks measures introduced on 1 July 2016 are designed to reduce the risk of this occurring. The evidence shows that they will work.
The people of Queensland strongly support the introduction of the last drinks policy with 72 per cent in favour of the measures in 2017.9 An evaluation is underway to see whether they are working and identify barriers to their success. Already, this evaluation has identified that the late night trading permits that allowed licensed venues to trade until 5am, were seriously undermining the effectiveness of the measures.
This continued from 1 July 2016 until the number that licensed venues could apply for was reduced from 12 to six permits per year in March 2017. The last drink measures should be retained so they are in place for a sufficient period of time to allow them to take effect without the confounding effect of the late night permits.
QCAA calls for bipartisan support for retaining the measures until at least the time when the Government has received the final evaluation report and considered its findings, so that a decision on the future of the measures can be made, based on the evidence presented in the report.
Do I have a say in a liquor licensing decisions?
As a community member you have a right to object to a liquor licence being approved in your area, or a licence being approved for extended trading hours if you think it will have negative impacts on the community.
A community member can make an objection on the grounds that the liquor licence has:
- undue offence, annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience to those who live or work within the area
- undue offence, annoyance, disturbance or inconvenience to persons in, or travelling to or from, an existing or proposed place of public worship, hospital or school
- harm from alcohol abuse and misuse or associated violence
- an adverse effect on the health or safety of members of the public
- an adverse effect on the amenity of the community.
Information on how to make an objection to a liquor licence application can be found on the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation website here.
How do I know when a new liquor licence is being considered in my area?
To find out what liquor licence applications are currently being considered in your area, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation list this information on the OLGR Public Register.
In response, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has prepared the following fact sheet for people concerned by the prospect of new venues trading until 5am and the likely negative impact that it will have on their local communities.
The fact sheet outlines what happens when Governments de-regulate alcohol and extend late night trading hours, and why late night trading hours are a concern. It also explains what rights community members have to make an objection to a liquor licence application, how to make an objection, and how to find out what liquor licence applications are being considered in your area.
What happens when you extend late night trading hours?
Research on the relationship between the trading hours of licensed premises and alcohol-related harm has consistently demonstrated that increased trading hours are associated with increased harms.[i]
A Norwegian study examined the changes in trading hours for on-premise licenses (pubs, bars and nightclubs) which considered both the impacts of extended and reduced late night trading hours. The study focused on on-premise licensed premises within 10 cities, eight of these cities had trading hours times extended.[ii] The study found that every extra hour of trading was associated with a significant increase of 4.8 assaults per 100,000 people per quarter. This equates to a 16 per cent increase in assaults for every additional hour of trading.[iii]
A West Australian study examined the impact on violent assaults on or near licenced venues following a one hour extension of trading from midnight to 1am in mid 1993. The study examined trends in assaults between 1 July, 1991 and 30 June 1997 and found an increase of 70 per cent in assaults per hotel per month for venues with extended trading after the extension of trading hours was introduced.[iv]
What happens when Governments de-regulate alcohol?
Alcohol is a harmful product, therefore Governments are responsible for regulating it to minimise the harms. When decisions are made by Governments to remove regulations around alcohol this has negative impacts on the community.
Deregulating alcohol can result in more liquor licenses and more liquor licenses being able to trade later. The increase in the availability of alcohol through the number of liquor licenses and late night trading hours is associated with an increase in alcohol-related harms.
This has been particularly predominant in areas with higher concentrations of licensed premises, such as Victoria, and has corresponded with higher levels of assault, domestic violence and chronic health harm.[v],[vi],[vii]
The below graph shows the comparison in trends for the number of liquor licenses and the number of family incidents that involve alcohol in Victoria.
Source: Victorian Commission for Liquor and Gaming Regulation (2013). 2012-13 Annual Report and Victoria Police Corporate Statistics Division. (2014). Alcohol involvement in family incidents.
Extensions of trading hours in liquor outlets has been found to increase rates of violence and road crashes in an area.[viii],[ix] These changes have been particularly seen in jurisdictions where liquor licensing legislation was forced to comply with competition policy requirements.
Why are late night trading hours a concern?
Research shows that alcohol-related assaults increase significantly after midnight.[x],[xi] A study by the Bureau of Crime Statistic and Research (BOCSAR) in New South Wales (NSW) looked at the relationship between alcohol and crime. The study examined the patterns in alcohol-related crime, including assaults using NSW Police records, these patterns included analysing where assaults are most likely to occur and when. The study found that the percentage of alcohol-related assaults increased substantially between 6pm to 3am, with the highest rates of alcohol-related assaults occurring between midnight and 3am.[xii]
The study also found that NSW police reported alcohol-related assaults most frequently on a Saturday between midnight and 3am, where alcohol-related assaults accounted for 55.3 per cent of all assaults. With the second most frequent time reported was on a Sunday between midnight and 3am, where alcohol-related assaults accounted for 52.6 per cent.[xiii]
The graph below shows the percentage of alcohol-related assaults and offence behaviour by time in NSW from July 1999 – June 2000.
Source: Briscoe, S., Donnelly, N. (2001). ‘Temporal and regional aspects of alcohol-related violence and disorder’. Alcohol Studies Bulletin.The information on this page has been prepared by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.
[i] Babor et al, 2010, Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity Research and Public Policy Second Edition, Oxford University Press [ii] Rossow, I. & Norström, T. (2011). The impact of small changes in bar closing hours on violence. The Norwegian experience from 18 cities. Addiction (107) 3. [iii] Chikritzhs T, Stockwell T. (2002). The impact of later trading hours for Australian public houses (hotels) on levels of violence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 63(5):591‐9. [iv] Ibid. [v] Livingston, M. (2008). A longitudinal analysis of alcohol outlet density and assault. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 1074-1079. [vi] Livingston, M. (2011). Alcohol outlet density and harm: Comparing the impacts on violence and chronic harms. Drug and Alcohol Review 515-523. [vii] Livingston, M. (2011). A longitudinal analysis of alcohol outlet density and domestic violence. 106(6) Addiction 919-925. [viii] Chikritzhs T, Stockwell T. (2002). The impact of later trading hours for Australian public houses (hotels) on levels of violence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 63(5):591‐9. [ix] Chikritzhs T, Stockwell T. (2006). The impact of later trading hours for hotels on levels of impaired driver road crashes and driver breath alcohol levels. Addiction, 101(9):1254‐64. [x] Jochelson, R. (1997). Crime and Place: An analysis of assaults and robberies in Inner Sydney. Sydney: New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. [xi] Briscoe, S., Donnelly, N. (2001). ‘Temporal and regional aspects of alcohol-related violence and disorder’. Alcohol Studies Bulletin. [xii] Ibid. [xiii] Ibid.