Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1555 ..
The draft bill I am tabling today is the product of a discussion paper on the review of the Liquor Act 1975, which was released in 2008 for public consultation, and a final departmental report making a number of key recommendations for reform, which the government released in 2009 for further public comment. The government received over 30 written submissions in response to the discussion paper and further detailed comment on the final report from the community, the liquor industry and government agencies. The views of those stakeholders are strongly represented in the draft bill.
The government’s liquor policy has continued to develop since the final departmental report in response to further comment from the liquor industry and the community and further research by my department. The policy will continue to be refined and reviewed in response to comments received on the exposure draft bill. I have already met with some of the key industry stakeholders, and I have further meetings scheduled to discuss further matters of mutual interest and concern.
While it is important to recognise the risks that come with the irresponsible sale and excessive consumption of alcohol, it is equally important not to lay the blame for all liquor problems solely at the industry’s door. If we are to make a difference, the government needs the community and the industry to work together to share responsibility and to develop a strong partnership dedicated to minimising the harms that result from alcohol abuse.
The government appreciates the significant contribution made by the liquor industry to the vibrant nightlife we all enjoy today, not to mention the significant contribution it makes to the ACT’s economy. In this respect, it is important to acknowledge the role our liquor laws play in the responsible promotion of related industries, such as live music entertainment, tourism and our hospitality sectors.
The draft bill is designed to balance the need to regulate the sale and supply of liquor to minimise alcohol-related violence with the need to encourage a vibrant nightlife and the economic benefits that Canberra’s liquor and hospitality industries offer. This is why the new liquor laws must operate to encourage the liquor industry to better manage the risks associated with alcohol abuse with the expectations, needs and aspirations of our community for a safe community.
I would now like to outline in some detail the government’s proposals and the new regulatory framework they establish. Part 1 of the bill sets out the new object of the act, which recognises the need to regulate the sale, supply, promotion and consumption of liquor to minimise harms associated with the consumption of liquor in a way that protects the safety of the community. It also sets out what the new harm minimisation and community safety principles are which the government must take into account when making decisions and which underpin the operation of the new act.
The draft bill’s new emphasis on harm minimisation and community safety principles will govern all decisions under the legislation and operate to encourage the right balance between the competing needs of the industry and the community. The new definition of “liquor” has been broadened from a “beverage” to include any substance capable of being ingested in order to catch new ways of ingesting alcohol. The