Submission on Western Australia’s Liquor Laws

The George Institute for Global Health is pleased to contribute a submission to the Western Australian Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries on the consultation for the Next Chapter of Western Australia’s Liquor Laws.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the impacts of alcohol consumption into sharp focus. From a health perspective, there is no such thing as a healthy amount of alcohol consumption, yet alcohol use is deeply ingrained in Australian society. It accounts for nearly five percent of our total disease burden and causes 6,000 deaths per year. While there are favourable downward trends, Australians remain heavy drinkers by world standards, consuming 9.5 litres of pure alcohol each per year, and the size and influence of the highly concentrated alcohol industry present challenges for regulators. The community continues to be bombarded with alcohol advertising and marketing tactics, including children, young people and our most vulnerable communities.

The George Institute supports the focus of the Western Australian Government in reforming liquor laws to reduce alcohol consumption and improve health outcomes. The George Institute endorses the key recommendations of Cancer Council Western Australia submission:

  1. A minimum (floor) price for alcohol could save lives, cut crime and reduce hospital admissions in WA.
  2. Stronger controls on the online sale and home delivery of alcohol will provide better community protections, including for young people.
  3. Meaningful community participation in liquor licensing processes is needed to prevent and minimise harm from alcohol.
  4. Introduction of mechanisms to ensure effective monitoring and enforcement of WA’s liquor laws.
  5. Reduce children and young people’s exposure to alcohol use and marketing through liquor licensing.
  6. Our schools and child-focussed venues should be alcohol-free environments.
  7. Zero alcohol products present an emerging challenge and should be addressed through WA’s liquor laws.
  8. The overall objective of the Liquor Control Act 1988 should be to prevent and minimise harm from alcohol.