Review of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998

The APC has made a submission to the Victorian Government which outlines 43 recommendations to reform the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 and better protect Victorian children, families and communities from family violence and other alcohol related harms.

Read the APC's Review of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 submission

Read submissions by other organisations:

The Liquor Act review

The review of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 is the government’s first substantial review of Victoria’s liquor licensing legislation in almost 20 years.

It follows recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Family Violence to address the role of alcohol in family violence.

The link between alcohol and family violence

Alcohol increases the frequency and severity of family violence. It contributes to more than half of the incidents attended by police. This amounts to almost 65,000 incidents of family violence each year.1

Alcohol harms are on the increase

Police data shows that the number of family violence incidents involving alcohol increased by 85 per cent overall and by 59 per cent per population between 2003-04 and 2012-13.2

In addition to being a major contributor to family violence, alcohol has also been linked to rising hospital admissions, treatment episodes and ambulance attendances.

For example, alcohol related ambulance attendances in metropolitan Melbourne have more than doubled recent years, rising from 5,131 incidents in 2006/073 to 12,482 incidents in 2013/14.4

Alcohol is linked with three deaths and more than 100 hospitalisations every day in Victoria.5

In the long term it is a major risk factor for serious health problems, including liver cirrhosis, stroke, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure, as well as being responsible for 3,200 cases of cancer in Australia each year .

Liquor licensing boom

In recent years the number of packaged liquor outlets in Victoria has boomed, as has the number of large ‘big box’ stores offering cheap alcohol at discount prices.

Strong evidence links availability of alcohol, through the number and concentration of packaged liquor outlets, to increases in family violence, child maltreatment and health problems.7

The current system is failing to reduce harm

The explosion of liquor licences and resulting increase in alcohol related harm demonstrates that the current system is failing to protect Victorian children, families and communities and is weighted heavily in favour of the alcohol industry.

Our recommendations

The APC submission to the government includes 43 recommendations to reform the Liquor Act that would bring immediate and substantial reductions in alcohol related harm. Recommendations include:

  • Overhauling the application process for new liquor outlets to allow greater consideration of family violence and health harms.
  • Regulating irresponsible marketing and promotion by liquor outlets (eg. bottle shop alcohol giveaways with purchase).
  • Ceasing outdoor alcohol advertising on public transport infrastructure and near schools to protect children and young people.

Read all recommendations in the APC submission.

References

  1. Sutherland, P, McDonald, C & Millsteed, M 2016, Family violence, alcohol consumption and the likelihood of criminal offences, Crime Statistics Agency (Vic)
  2. Victorian Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program, cited in Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education 2014, The state of play: alcohol in Victoria.
  3. Turning Point. (2016). AODstats. Eastern Health. Retrieved from: http://aodstats.org.au/
  4. Trends in alcohol and drug related ambulance attendances in Victoria 2013/14, Turning Point and Ambulance Victoria, available from www.turningpoint.org.au
  5. Gao, C, Ogeil, R, & Lloyd, B 2014, Alcohol’s burden of disease in Australia, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and VicHealth in collaboration with Turning Point.
  6. Pandeya, N, Wilson, LF, Webb, PM, Neale, RE, Bain, CJ & Whiteman, DC 2015, ‘Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to the consumption of alcohol’. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 408-413.
  7. Livingston, M, Wilkinson, C & Room, R 2016, Community impact of liquor licences,Sax Institute for the Ministry of Health (NSW), <http://www.saxinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Community-impact-of-liquor-licences-1.pdf>.

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