GrogWatch is alarmed by the potential for increased alcohol-related problems and violence in Australia if the recommendations in the Harper Review Competition Policy Review are adopted. The review panel proposes that the current regulations that control the sale of alcohol need to be reviewed in case they restrict competition.
These recommendations, if adopted, are likely to lead to increased availability of alcohol in petrol stations, convenience stores and supermarkets around the country.
Making alcohol available on shelves next to bread and a milk could have disastrous results for the health and safety of our communities. Kids will be able to walk into a supermarket or corner store and see alcohol on the shelves as though it is an everyday grocery item, the same as a loaf of bread or a bottle of juice.
We don’t let kids visit licensed venues alone, so why would it be ok to sell alcohol in stores that kids visit unaccompanied every day?
As a community we must prevent the attempt to normalise alcohol as an everyday grocery item – it’s a toxic drug causing real harm to Australians every day. We have spent decades successfully reducing the lives lost to drink driving and increasing awareness of the devastating harm alcohol can cause, so why put booze in petrol stations?
These recommendations have the potential to make alcohol cheaper and more available – two things which we know are directly linked to increases in problem drinking.
We need to preserve the ability of governments to impose appropriate controls on the economic and physical availability of alcohol, even where these controls may otherwise be seen to limit competition’
The final report is due to be handed to the Government by March 2015 however submissions are welcome.
We urge all GrogWatchers to submit their concerns by 17 November 2014