Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 82 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
PAUL HEILMAN, PRESIDENT
WHAT WILL BE THE FOCUS FOR
THE YEAR AHEAD?
With 2018 being a pre-election year in NSW,
a major focus for the LSA will be advocacy
and engagement with all political parties to
clarify their policy positions, and to address a
broad range of issues and challenges negatively
impacting on the retail liquor sector.
Integral to the Association’s policy and
advocacy role, is the constructive advice,
guidance and direction we provide to
Government on behalf of our members and the
retail liquor industry.
The overly complex, badly crafted, rushed
and poorly communicated NSW CDS has been a
bitter pill for the NSW liquor industry to swallow,
and its arrival has been anything but smooth.
The CDS will remain high on the agenda this
year, and LSA will continue to work closely and
proactively with stakeholders, in particular the
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Small
Business, and the NSW Small Business and
Cross-Border Commissioners, with the ACT
CDS soon to commence and the QLD CDS
scheduled to kick-off later this year.
Other focus areas for the LSA this year will be
the NSW Government’s review of Community
Impact Statement requirement for liquor licence
applications, Liquor & Gaming NSW’s Tiered
Industry Training Framework, which will see
the introduction of new Licensee Training
and Advanced Licensee Training courses, and
working closely with the ACT Government on
their pre-election commitment to undertake a
joint public education campaign to promote the
responsible consumption of alcohol.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU
FOR LIQUOR RETAILERS IN 2018?
There are many opportunities for liquor retailers
to prosper and grow to satisfy the needs of the
changing consumer and marketplace.
The continuing shift in Australia’s relationship
with alcohol beverages, with consumers drinking
less but better quality and with the transition to
more premium products, is a key trend across all
product segments, particularly craft beer, artisan
spirits and not only more premium wine but the
emergence of new and interesting wine styles
and grape varieties.
Australia’s changing population is creating
further influences on overall consumption
patterns and beverage choice, creating new
opportunities for beverage producers and
Lastly, with online shopping continuing to
become more commonplace, liquor retailers
and marketers have opportunities to connect
with today’s instant information age and
technology savvy consumers.
WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES
FACING LSA NSW & ACT?
The number of packaged liquor licences in NSW
has increased by over 50 per cent in the past
10 years; Australians are drinking less alcohol
now than in the past 50 years; the cost of doing
business has never been greater – one example
being wage rates, nearly 30 per cent higher than
they were just eight years ago; and our industry
is well over-regulated – all of these factors pose
serious threats to our industry, and it’s no surprise
that many small businesses are struggling.
The LSA is under constant pressure to
ensure that we deliver value, and demonstrate
relevance and currency to members, and are
challenged to be more effective in advocating
for the interests of members and the industry.
WHAT IS ONE ISSUE YOU’D LIKE
TO SEE URGENTLY ADDRESSED?
An ongoing challenge for not only LSA, but
the entire industry, is the escalating social
policy debate on the role alcohol plays in
society, often misrepresented, dominated and
misinformed by public health lobby groups
clearly aligned to the temperance movement,
who continually try to demonise responsible
and sensible adults and divert policy attention
and resources away from fixing the underlying
societal issues caused by alcohol misuse.
This overshadows our vibrant, diverse and
dynamic retail liquor industry, and the vast
majority of operators and consumers who
do act responsibly, for the safe and social
enjoyment of alcohol beverages.
The opportunity has never been greater
for the overall industry to unite to promote
the positive contribution that responsible
and moderate alcohol beverage consumption
contributes to the economy, with jobs and
investment in retailing and marketing, plus
production, agriculture and service industries,
along with the relaxation and enjoyment
which add to the social fabric of the
Australian way of life.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR THE
CDS IN THE YEAR AHEAD?
The CDS has had and continues to have a
significant impact, and a much greater and
differing impact for those businesses situated
on or near the QLD, ACT and VIC borders.
We are still concerned about the welfare of
a number of small retail businesses in these
Many small beverage manufacturers have
been put under undue financial pressure,
and retailers at the coal face are copping the
backlash from frustrated customers, upset and
confused as to why the price of their favourite
drinks have increased and then the most recent
one, wondering just how and where do they
get their money back – there are still nowhere
near enough collection points, and many have
already pulled the pin as they have quickly
realised it’s not worth the hassle.
The NSW Government has done everything
in its power to avoid letting the community
know what the real impact to consumers’
hip pockets will be. Like many members, my
staff and I have been on the receiving end of
the backlash from angry customers, having
to explain why the price of certain products
has increased by more than 10 cents – it’s
not ‘price gouging’, nor is it ‘opportunistic’,
it’s called cost recovery by manufacturers.
It is a necessary part of the cost model but
that part of the CDS in particular was very
poorly communicated to the general public by
the government, as well as Minister Upton’s
comments in several interviews.
We continue to monitor the situation
closely, seeking feedback from members and
stakeholders, and eagerly await the NSW Small
Business Commissioner’s planned roundtable in
early March. We hope that we will be able to
take a strong body of evidence to this forum,
to seek fundamental changes to the CDS where
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