Home' National Liquor News : NLN SEPT 2016 Contents 10 | SEPTEMBER 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
ACT CHIEF MINISTER PERFORMS A BACKFLIP ON
LIQUOR LICENCE FEE INCREASES
The ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has performed what appears to be a backflip by re-
defining the status of a high-volume liquor store by increasing the threshold for the definition
from $1 million in annual purchases to $3 million.
In a letter to a Canberra liquor retailer obtained by National Liquor News, the ACT Chief
Minister outlines his argument for changing the definition of a high-volume big-discount off-
licence liquor store.
"One thing we definitely need to tackle as a city is binge drinking and pre-loading. Our
Liquor Act White Paper proposed increasing the licence fee for high-volume, big-discount
off-licences. As you may be aware, the White Paper put forward a suggestion to measure high-
volume stores as those with turnover higher than $1 million per year," the Chief Minister said
in the letter.
"After consultation with industry, we now think that figure should be set much higher -- at
$3 million per annum -- to make sure we aren't impacting boutique or small, local stores.
The Government is now only looking at licence fees for off-licences with a turnover above $3
million a year, with no change proposed for smaller stores."
In response to the letter, the CEO of the Australian Liquor Stores Association, Terry Mott,
said: "While it is pleasing that the ACT Government appears to be responding to the concerns
we have been conveying, LSA ACT members do not believe that the change in the threshold is
a satisfactory solution and they believe that there should be no increase in licence fees across
the board -- in fact ACT liquor licence fees should be adjusted back to more realistic levels and
in-line with other States and Territories.
"ACT Liquor Licence fees are already 20 times higher than their nearby competitors across the
border in neighbouring towns or online operators from other jurisdictions, which is clearly out of
all proportion and an unfair and unjustified impost on ACT drinkers, industry staff and operators.
"It is disappointing that there has been an attempt to split the industry into two, by
lobbying that there should be different treatment for so-called 'small' and 'large' retailers,"
"There is no evidence that singles out customers of any LSA member large or small,
as having contributed to any perceived problem and it is ludicrous to pretend that only
customers who purchase from larger outlets contribute to any harms from alcohol misuse. It is
disappointing that a self-serving group has missed the point and the clear community message
reported by the Australian Institute for Health & Welfare, that the broader community
preference is for governments to enforce targeted measures on those who behave badly and
offend, not by simplistic excessive tax hikes indiscriminately applied to everyone -- including
responsible consumers and licensees alike."
Mott confirmed that the campaign against increases to liquor licensing fees across the board
will continue in the lead up to the ACT Election on 15 October.
"We have made further approaches and are continuing to try and talk with Chief Minister
Barr and his government colleagues. Over 3000 ACT shoppers have already signed the petition
against this blatant tax hike. The ALSA campaign seems to be working and we don't accept that
any increase in licence fees or any additional tax hike on drinkers or operators is justifiable."
ACT CHILDREN TO BE EXPOSED TO
'Inoculation theory' allows that psychological immunity
can be produced by exposing people to 'refuted
counterarguments'. This involves 'making the person feel
vulnerable to attack, warning of an impending attack,
making a persuasive attack...'
Later this year, grade nine and 10 students in the ACT
will be forced to sit through a Government-funded pilot
curriculum trial, based on 'inoculation theory', about the
alleged dangers of the alcohol industry and its advertising.
Despite evidence of a 15-year decline in underage
drinking and without any consultation with the industry
regarding concerns with alcohol advertising, the ACT
Government is planning to hand $15,000 of taxpayers'
money for this crusading initiative to the Foundation for
Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) -- an anti-alcohol
lobby group that already has some $30 million of taxpayer's
money in its bank account.
The ACT decided that the 'Game Changer Plus' trial
curriculum of eight lessons was a good idea after it
trialled in four NSW schools, despite clear concerns
expressed by the teachers forced to implement it.
"The teachers consistently expressed concern about
the focus on alcohol media literacy education and were
sceptical of its merit from a health point of view."
The researchers' answer to the teachers' concerns was to
recommend that their funders, FARE, could be contracted to
deliver the lesson content as workshops because they have
'enthusiasm for the topic'.
Some core lessons in the trial are entitled 'Alcohol
Industry and Consumption Trends' and 'Industry Action
Versus Real Action'.
Pre-and post-trial surveys asked the pupils if they agreed
or disagreed with statements such as: 'Alcohol companies
try to get young people to start drinking alcohol', or 'Alcohol
companies lie' and 'I don't want to drink because it would
mean alcohol companies are using me'. Other bizarre and
leading survey questions included: 'The alcohol industry
is most responsible for young people starting to drink
alcohol'; 'Alcohol is too dangerous to be sold at all'; and
'The alcohol industry is mostly/completely responsible for
health problems drinkers have because of their alcohol
The ABAC advertising code requires that alcohol ads do
not appeal to young people. Despite this, the ACT will have
Government-funded brainwashing of children to make
them feel vulnerable to an attack from a legal and heavily
Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) is meeting with the
Minister to express the industry's concern and alarm at
this proposed program. ABA will be asking for a detailed
explanation of how this trial program found its way into the
ACT school curriculum and will request an urgent review of the
content to determine if it's appropriate for its young audience.
LSA ACT launches campaign against increases
to liquor licence fees in the ACT.
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