Health groups have welcomed the Victorian Government's announcement today regarding changes to planning laws that will allow communities to have a greater say about bottle shops in their neighbourhoods.
"Decisions around alcohol outlets affect communities, so we support any move that gives communities the opportunity to have a say on how many bottle shops and liquor barns appear in their neighbourhood," said Michael Livingston, spokesperson for the Alcohol Policy Coalition.
"Research shows that with every additional liquor shop, the rates of assault, domestic violence and chronic disease go up. This is particularly problematic because we know that most (75%) of the alcohol sold in Victoria comes from bottle shops or liquor barns, rather than pubs and clubs."
The number of packaged liquor outlets in Victoria has more than doubled in the last two decades. Studies in Melbourne have shown that with a greater number of bottle shops, the surrounding community sees a rise in:
rates of street violencedomestic violence, andalcohol-related chronic disease.
The proposed changes mean that packaged liquor outlets will have to get planning permission just like all other types of licensed premises. This means community members, police and local governments will have an opportunity to raise objections to new plans for new packaged liquor outlets in their area.
Alcohol remains a major cause of preventable death and illness across the state. It hospitalises 24,700 Victorians and kills more than 750 every year. Alcohol-related harms cost Victorian taxpayers more than $4billion every year. This is something we have the power to prevent.