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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3894..

DR FOSKEY (continuing):

secretary. I thank Hamish Finlay for the work that he did, often in a bit of a hurry. That is the way these things go. I also want to thank Demelza-Rose Gale, who did a lot of research and provided the Australia-wide approach that we were able to put into this topic.

As you know, liquor licences have been quite an issue. The Auditor-General did produce a report. Her report plus other general news-making items have led the government to look into this to some extent. I think we are still waiting for that report by the government.

We make some pretty interesting recommendations here. It is very useful to look at other states and see what they are doing. That is, I think, where this report has a benefit and I do commend it to the minister, to members and to perhaps the regulatory bodies that control liquor licences.

Some of the recommendations that we make include that it might be time for us to start thinking about alcohol in a similar way to the way we look at cigarette advertising and sale. And that is because, again, we are talking about the vulnerability of young people here in particular. Our recommendation 8 suggests that the ACT government consider applying the same approach to addressing underage alcohol purchases as it does to underage cigarette purchases.

Some of the other interesting recommendations we make include perhaps a greater role for the police. The police appeared before our inquiry and indicated that, because they are doing so much work in this area anyway, especially late at night, they would be prepared to do quite a bit more. So we have suggested that all liquor licence applications be referred to ACT Policing for them to offer advice to the Office of Regulatory Services.

Another area that we looked into was the development of accords. These are in existence in many parts of Australia, including Queanbeyan, and are agreements that develop between community, the industry, police and pretty much whoever wants to be involved. Let me read you something rather than make it up:

Liquor Licensing Accords provide a discussion forum drawing on the experiences, expertise, knowledge and ideas of a variety of individuals and professionals, including those from the liquor industry. The Committee believes that liquor accords could benefit the Canberra liquor industry. Accords would give the public the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of services that the industry supplies by providing a forum for conversations between consumers, other community members, licensees and the ORS. These conversations can contribute to improving monitoring and regulation of the industry.

There is community concern about issues related to alcohol consumption. We are very much aware that we cannot lay the blame at the feet of the licensees. It is important they run their establishments well but, in the end, it is consumer responsibility that is required. Though we could not really go into that in that report, it is certainly noted. I will leave it there. Hopefully, other members will wish to speak.

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