WA’s alcohol restrictions under scrutiny

27 March, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

The temporary restrictions on takeaway alcohol that are being trialed in Western Australia have already come under criticism, with some local retailers questioning whether the regulations are being adhered to by online stores in eastern states.

TheShout has been made aware of advertisements from online liquor stores publicising that they are “not limiting purchases” as well as stores advertising the purchase of wine by the dozen, which would be a clear breach of the temporary restrictions.

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The temporary restrictions state that takeaway alcohol will be limited to the following amounts, per customer, each day:

  • One carton of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits (11.25 litres); or
  • Three bottles of wine (2.25 litres); or
  • One litre of spirits; or
  • One litre of fortified wine; or
  • A combination of any two of the above (but not a combination of two of the same product).

Liquor Stores Association WA (LSA WA) and the Australian Hotels Association WA (AHA WA) have voiced concerns at the potential gaps in the new restrictions.

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods told TheShout that if these gaps exist it is incumbent on authorities to urgently address them.

“We are deeply concerned at reports that the restrictions announced by the WA Government are being circumvented by online companies in other states, who are ignoring the new limits.

“This is having a direct and significant impact on WA businesses who are already suffering from a number of restrictions that have been implemented over the past weeks, which have crippled their operations and made it nearly impossible to trade.

“These restrictions were implemented despite the WA Police Commissioner saying that it would only be done in the event that there was evidence of panic buying, which was clearly not occurring.

“If gaps exist in the new restrictions that are allowing online companies to circumvent them and displace local WA businesses, it is incumbent on authorities to ensure they are addressed as a matter of urgency.”

LSA WA CEO Peter Peck says: “It’s fair to say that this online option flies in the face of what the government is trying to do under a ‘State of Emergency.’

“We’re sitting over here in WA trying to ensure that small mum and dad businesses are keeping their doors open and keeping people employed while you have online profiteers in eastern states who are flouting the rules and publicising that you can buy as much as you want.

“Where we are worried about people keeping their jobs while these profiteers are worried about how much money they will make at the cost of other Australians’ livelihoods.

“It’s bloody disgraceful.”

TheShout has reached out to the Office of Premier Mark McGowan for comment and clarification on how the temporary restrictions apply to online sales.