Managing availability, price and promotion
Spearhead advocacy efforts at the Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum to introduce a nationally consistent minimum unit price on alcohol.
Following the successful implementation of the Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence policy, levels of alcohol-related violence in safe night precincts (SNPs) have reduced and people have reported feeling safer when enjoying the state's nightlife.
While the QUANTEM report shows that trading hours restrictions have successfully reduced the quantity of alcohol consumed at on-licence premises and related harms, there is still more to be done. Over one third of Queenslanders (38%) are still experiencing the harms associated with alcohol-related violence and excessive drinking.
Pre-drinking is recognised as a contributor to the harms experienced in safe night precincts, with 83.7 per cent of people report consuming alcohol from take away outlets prior to attending pubs, clubs and bars. These harms disproportionately impact young people, who are more sensitive to the discrepancy in pricing of alcoholic products and opt for take-away liquor before entering precincts.
78.2 per cent of all alcohol purchased in Australia is bought from take away liquor outlets. This has been further amplified in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the way that many people buy and consume alcohol. One in five (20 per cent) households reported buying more alcohol than usual since the outbreak in Australia. Of those households, 70 per cent reported drinking more alcohol than usual and 32 per cent are concerned with the amount of alcohol either they or someone in their household is drinking.
56 per cent of Queenslanders support a closing time of bottle shops of no later than 10pm. The Queensland Government has taken the first step by restricting the sale of take away alcohol past 10pm for new licence applications, however many are still trading beyond this time. This excessive availability of alcohol is concerning because the evidence shows that the more available alcohol is, the higher the risk of alcohol related harms.
The Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence policy should be extended to regulate these other sites of alcohol related harm. We encourage all political parties and leaders to commit to retaining the Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence policy and expanding the policy to end the sale of all take-away alcohol at 10pm.
Tighten advertising restrictions on government buildings and implement a complete ban immediately.
The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) notes that there are currently no monitoring compliance checks being conducted for Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) to private residences.
This gap allows alcohol to potentially be delivered to underage people, those already intoxicated, or even left unattended. Unenforced, there is no way of monitoring whether online alcohol retailers are failing to meet the Responsible Service of Alcohol obligations required in their risk assessment plans.
Three quarters of online retailers advertise a willingness to leave alcohol unattended at an address, and 24% of Australians aged 18-24 report not having their ID checked last time they received an alcohol delivery. On top of this, alcohol delivery services and rapid alcohol delivery services (delivery within a couple hours of ordering) are more likely to be used by people who consume alcohol at risky levels. 20% of people who use a rapid alcohol delivery service receive their orders while already intoxicated. These rapid delivery services are used by heavy drinkers to continue drinking when they run out of alcohol, enabling excessive drinking far beyond what may have been originally planned.
Jimmy Brings, an alcohol delivery service that boasts delivery in just 30 minutes, states on their website, 'We never want you to call it a night because you're out of booze ever' – directly targeting alcohol sales to intoxicated people.
It is an enforceable offence under RSA for a traditional retailer to sell alcohol to an unduly intoxicated person, so it is logical for the same compliance checks to be enforced for private residence delivery services.
COVID-19 restrictions – closure of venues and discouraged travel – have made these delivery services much more popular as drinking at home increases. Online retailers have seen business spike by more than 50% since the pandemic, and polling by FARE revealed that 70% of Australians started drinking more since the COVID-19 outbreak, with more being consumed at-home and alone.
Compliance checks have for a long time been a vital part of the RSA. With COVID-19 changing how people use alcohol, policy and safety measures need to adapt in order to reflect a changing landscape.
In order to adapt to the new ways people are buying and consuming alcohol, we urge the Queensland government to enforce OLGR RSA monitoring compliance checks at the point of delivery, to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage or unduly intoxicated persons.