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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . .

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The report of the review was publicly released in May last year. The report of the review notes that the majority of stakeholders consider the act to have made a positive contribution to community safety, and that the adoption of a risk-based approach to licensing is also seen as having been a positive step. The data analysis in the report showed that alcohol-related assaults reduced by 11 per cent from the time the new laws came into force in late 2010 to mid-2013. Alcohol-related non-driving offences were also down 21 per cent for the same period, as were drink-driving offences, down by seven per cent.

In addition, the ACT's top ranking for alcohol policies in the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol report card for the last two years provided confidence that the ACT alcohol policy was on the right track. However, the report identified a number of outstanding issues, including growth in the number of alcohol-related assaults in Civic, contrasting with the reduction in such assaults across the ACT as a whole. It also identified concerns about the persistent level of alcohol-related violence, the extent of pre-loading and the number of young people needing treatment for alcohol-related problems.

The report identified a number of opportunities to further reform the ACT's licensing regime in the pursuit of a safer community and a more efficient hospitality sector. Potential changes identified in the report vary in their complexity and their potential impact on a range of stakeholders. To facilitate an in-depth consideration of the broad range of measures identified in the review report, the government is now proceeding in a staged approach. This bill represents the first stage. Over the course of this year, there will be formal consultation to provide an opportunity for the key stakeholders and broader community to have their say on a range of other significant issues raised in the review.

The bill includes amendments to the Liquor Act to expand the role and membership of the Liquor Advisory Board. Currently, the function of the board is to advise me about matters associated with the operation of the act. The board's current membership consists of the Commissioner for Fair Trading, representatives from the Australian Federal Police, liquor consumers, small businesses, ClubsACT, the Australian Hotels Association, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The breadth of alcohol-related issues that are relevant to achieving the act's harm minimisation objectives is discussed in the review report. The amendments in the bill will extend the function of the board to advising me on the operation and effectiveness of the act and measures that would support the act's harm minimisation objectives.

The membership of the board will therefore be expanded to include representatives of a wider range of interests relevant to the regulation of liquor, including the Victims of Crime Commissioner, a person with knowledge or expertise in the area of health and the effects of alcohol, a representative of young people and a representative of off-licensees.


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