The NSW/ACT alcohol policy alliance (NAAPA) is calling for earlier closing times of venues in major regional centres, and reforms to online alcohol delivery outlets that would target all NSW.
NAAPA has claimed that the toll from alcohol is far worse outside metropolitan centres.
It has put alcohol-fuelled harm on the 2019 NSW election agenda and has called on the NSW Parliament to reduce alcohol-related harm and associated costs in regional, rural and remote NSW.
“Regional, rural and remote communities experience disproportionate levels of alcohol harm, with domestic assaults 12-times higher in rural and remote regions compared to NSW as a whole,” said Tony Brown from Newcastle University and NAAPA spokesperson.
“The big killer in rural NSW is motor vehicle accidents, where alcohol is a factor in 85 per cent of crash fatalities compared to 17 per cent in major cities,” Mr Brown said.
While in Crookwell, “People don’t make the call to drive early when the pubs in towns are closing early… they aren’t making that bad decision,” Crookwell Police Leading Senior Constable Scott Hunter said.
However, the reforms would be an avenue for the community to have a conversation and policy at a state level that can be bespoke for regional areas to address their particular needs and local issues, Clare Ross from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education said.
In 2014, laws were introduced in both Sydney and Newcastle for early last drinks and lock outs.
“These measures must now be rolled out state-wide to deal with hotspots of alcohol-fuelled violence in other areas – including Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Albury and Wagga Wagga – where there are concentrations of late-trading pubs, clubs and bottle shops,” Mr Brown said.
These were the hot spot areas based on the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research statistics.
NAAPA also claimed that there are more than 500 online-only delivery liquor outlets which has increased in the last decade.
It has proposed a moratorium on all online liquor licences pending a review of the online, home delivery market; the strengthening of RSA conditions for online deliveries that would require companies to display licence details on websites selling alcohol; and the introduction of a 12-hour delay on the delivery of online orders.
NAAPA have developed the election platform initiative alongside emergency workers, health professionals, community members, community sector workers, researchers, and advocates.