One licensed Liquor venue for every 317 Australian people, Flinders University research finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th November 2012

Researchers at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University in Adelaide have found that there is currently one liquor licence for every 317 people in Australia that can legally drink.

The national review of liquor licensing legislation by the Flinders University researchers found that the number of liquor licences had increased by 120 per cent in Victoria and 60 per cent in South Australia since 1996.

The project, which was led by Professor Ann Roche, and was assisted by South Australian Police, aimed to examine the nature of liquor licences.

“Alcohol intoxication is a major problem despite the fact that it is an offence in every state and territory for the staff of licensed premises to continue to serve alcohol to drunken patrons,” Professor Roche said.

“Over the past decade Australia has experienced a dramatic increase in the numbers and types of licensed premises, enhanced hours of alcohol availability and a larger range of alcoholic beverage types,” she said.

The researchers concluded that:

  • Australian liquor licensing legislation tended to favour the interests of the alcohol industry and did not always give police and liquor licensing authorities the powers they needed to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder;
  • Some legislation was out-dated, overly complex and needed fundamental reform;
  • Police were often not sufficiently involved in legislative and regulatory reform processes and in licensing decision-making; and
  • In some jurisdictions an opportunity existed to clarify the roles of police and liquor licensing authorities in reducing alcohol-related problems.

As a result of these identified problems, some Australian jurisdictions have already taken steps to amend their legislation since the review was undertaken. According to Professor Roche, the review also confirmed that nationally, police agencies are “committed to reducing the harm associated with alcohol.”

According to Professor Roche, police agencies across Australia had identified that the complex issues associated with alcohol purchase and consumption that could not be addressed in isolation. Professor Roche added that a broad range of agencies and stakeholder partners “need to be involved in responding to alcohol policy issues.”