Liquor laws to be reviewed in the West

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th January 2013

Western Australia’s Minister for Racing and Gaming has appointed a committee to review the State’s existing liquor laws.

The Review Committee is now calling for public submissions to be made by 25 February 2013 with a view to completing its report for the Minister by 30 June 2013.

The Review Committee intends to examine the regulatory framework for the consumption, licensing, marketing and supply of liquor.

The Review in Western Australia follows discussions relating to the application of the ‘public interest’ test to liquor licensing matters and the 2011 tabling of a Report by the Education and Health Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on ‘curbing the culture of excess’ of alcohol.

The Review also follows media reports of public concern about excessive liquor consumption in Western Australia, and advocacy for liquor law reform by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth based at Curtin University.

However, the Minister’s selected membership of the Review Committee suggests that the ‘health’ groups are on the outer. The Review Committee comprises Mr John Atkins from gaming organisation Lotterywest, Mr Ian Stanley from regionally-based farmers group Oil Mallee Association of Australia, and Nicole Roocke from the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia.

Liquor Licences and the ‘Public Interest’ test

In the past decade, there was a predominant government policy view that stricter conditions for liquor licences in Western Australia were needed. The ‘public interest’ test for the granting of liquor licences was expanded in 2007. However, the Review Committee has now called for submissions regarding the current three year waiting period before any re-application, and is also to review the situation for premises previously refused a liquor licence for reasons relating to ‘public interest’.

Liquor Trading

Submissions are expected in relation to liberalising Sunday trading for non-metropolitan liquor stores. Likewise, there will be review of the current restriction on restaurants about the consumption of liquor without a meal.

Liquor and Children

In addition to a review of the appropriateness of current penalties concerning alcohol-related offences, the Review Committee is expecting specific submissions relating to the secondary supply of liquor to juveniles.