Wait awhile for booze blitz

Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett at his electorate office
Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett at his electorate office

Premier Colin Barnett said his government would review the Liquor Control Act after the March 9 State Election and would consider liquor advertising, marketing and penalties for adults supplying alcohol to minors when it reported mid-year.

He said his government ran a six-week advertising campaign last year to increase awareness of alcohol harm during pregnancy, as well as supporting a Department of Health-developed program protecting foetuses and a $50,000 grant for the Drug and Alcohol Office.

Mr Barnett did not say how metropolitan youth liquor culture would be controlled.

Labor leader Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett had been ‘weak’ by only having a review during his four years of government and blamed the Liberals for spending $2 million on its Big Picture advertising instead of alcohol programs and having ‘almost no increase’ in the $73.13 million in 2012-13 for Drug and Alcohol Services. He said his liquor reform policy, including allowing restaurants to serve drinks without meals, had ‘significant public health incentives’.

Prof. Daube said the proposal to allow restaurants to serve alcohol without meals risked greater problems by providing more access to drinking.

Simpler liquor licensing and the need for a public interest test for applications are part of Mr Barnett’s review.

Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition co-convenors professors Stanley and Daube are concerned loosening any controls would add to alcohol problems across Perth.

They want targeted powers to combat the personal and financial damage caused by drinking culture.

‘There is no other action a government could take that would do more to reduce violence, crime, road crashes and many health and social problems,’ they said in a letter to Mr Barnett and Mr McGowan.