What do re-elected governments in the ACT and Queensland mean for liquor retailers?

06 November, 2020 by Andy Young

Michael Waters is the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Retail Drinks Australia analyses what recent state and territory election results mean for liquor retailers.

Over the last four weeks, we have seen voters in both the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland head to the polls to decide the make-up of their next governments. In both these elections, incumbent Labor Governments, led by Andrew Barr in the ACT and Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland, were retained. Alongside the re-election of the Gunner Government in the Northern Territory, this means that in all of the elections held this year, the respective Premiers and Chief Ministers have been returned.

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Whilst the Labor vote was enough to secure additional terms of government in both the ACT and Queensland, there was also significant electoral success for the Greens, with the party securing six seats in the ACT Legislative Assembly as well as winning the seat of South Brisbane in Queensland, defeating former Labor Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad in the process. The Greens’ parliamentary presence in the ACT has also translated to several cabinet positions, with ACT Greens leader, Shane Rattenbury, given the Attorney General portfolio.

But, more importantly, what do the re-elections of the ACT and Queensland Governments mean for the retail liquor industry?  We can expect both these jurisdictions to progress regulating the online liquor delivery space in some capacity, as we have already seen take place in NSW and currently underway in other Australian states and territories. Pleasingly, Retail Drinks has already secured commitments from each of these Labor Governments to work collaboratively on a new regulatory framework for online deliveries, with reference to the Retail Drinks Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code of Conduct as the current benchmark for responsible retailing.

Both of these governments have also confirmed that minimum unit pricing or a floor price on alcohol is not on their legislative agenda for the next term in government as the Northern Territory’s three-year review of their alcohol floor price approaches. Whilst we are yet to receive confirmation around the possible extension of liquor licence waivers granted to licensees earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Retail Drinks will continue this dialogue with all State and Territory governments, including the ACT and Queensland, over the coming months.

Regardless of the parties in Government or in Opposition, Retail Drinks is strongly committed to working proactively with governments of all persuasions to nurture a stable political, social and commercial environment in which the retail liquor industry may grow sustainably.