Central West Lifeline CEO Stephanie Robinson says she’s unsure whether proposed new limits on the sale of alcohol will reduce its harmful effects.
The NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance – an association of various health, community, emergency services and research organisations – is calling on the next NSW Parliament to prioritise the prevention of alcohol-related harm and associated costs in regional areas like Orange.
NAAPA wants earlier closing times mandated for pubs, clubs and bottle shops statewide as part of a suite of measures aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm.
Ms Robinson questioned the impact of the change, arguing those who abuse alcohol will always find ways to buy it.
“I don’t think new regulations or an early closing of venues will make much difference,” Ms Robinson said, adding existing alcohol laws should be enforced more strictly.
“People need to be held accountable for their actions if they break the law.”
NAAPA’s policy document cited Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data that showed alcohol-related domestic assaults were up to 12.1 times higher in regional NSW than in major cities.
Aside from rolling out early closures for licensed venues, the document called for temporary moratoriums on new liquor licences in locations deemed to be “high risk”, a $30 million public awareness campaign over four years focusing on the long-term effects of alcohol, suspending online liquor sales pending a review of responsible service of alcohol practices and banning buy now-pay later options for the online grog purchases.
The policy platform also recommended mandated health messages on all forms of alcohol marketing, which would take up 20 per cent of the advertising space, and a ban on booze ads on public transport and other government property.
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