Liquor Licensing Officers

16 Oct 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question about liquor licensing officers.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Under freedom of information, the Liberal Party received some information in relation to disciplinary actions in the Licensing Court for the period 2007-08. The document states that two compliance investigators and 10 inspectors are employed by the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commission. These documents reveal that some 30 licensees were prosecuted, but only one as a result of the action of the Liquor Commissioner's Office, 27 of its actions were initiated by the police, and two were not listed.

The one complaint prosecuted by the Liquor Commissioner's Office was for a door left open while entertainment was in progress. I note that none of the prosecutions was for serving alcohol to either inebriated or under-age patrons. My question to the minister is: what on earth are her officers doing to curb, as the Premier put it, the binge drinking problem we have in South Australia?

The Hon. B.V. Finnigan: Why don't you talk to your colleague on the back bench? He is out there defending the pubs. Talk to Rob. You don't talk to each other over there.


The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:29): I welcome the opportunity to speak on this most important topic in response to a question from the opposition. Risky or high-risk alcohol consumption for short-term harm is defined as 'alcohol consumption greater than that recommended by the current Australian guidelines'. Currently, a review of those guidelines is under way and will be finalised shortly.

Responsible consumption of alcohol initiatives developed and promoted by the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner include:

· the safe partying initiative;

· information provided to assist parents, families and communities to develop harm minimisation strategies that address alcohol consumption at parties or special events, developed collaboratively with agencies such as SAPOL, DECS and DASA;

· manufacturers such as Coopers and retailers such as Woolworths have been encouraged to include responsible consumption messages in their advertising and packaging;

· a wallet card providing information about alcohol and the law and promoting responsible service of alcohol for young people has been published and handed out;

· the promotion of responsible consumption of alcohol messages at events such as Crockfest and Schoolies, which we do a lot of work on, and the Big Day Out;

· a parents' guide entitled 'Teenage Parties & Alcohol' has been developed, featuring things such as party tips and outlining legal responsibilities.

That has been produced by the office and widely circulated to schools, council offices and police stations. The office is also involved in the development of the South Australian Alcohol Action Plan, which I have previously spoken at length about in this place under my former portfolio responsibilities. That is in conjunction with SAPOL and DASSA and representatives from a number of government agencies. Of course, the priorities of that plan reflect the National Alcohol Strategy and include things such as reducing the incidence of intoxication among drinkers; enhancing public safety and amenity at times and at places where alcohol is consumed; improving health outcomes among individuals and communities affected by alcohol consumption; and facilitating safer and healthier drinking cultures by developing community understanding about the properties of alcohol through its regulation.

They are a number of the initiatives, including the announcement, on 10 March, of the $53 million national binge drinking strategy, and there are a number of very important strategies in that initiative that we will be rolling out as well. So, you can see that there is a great deal that we do and have planned to do over the next few months.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:32): I have a supplementary question. Of all the activities that the minister has just referred to, which ones involve officers from the Liquor and Gambling Commission?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:32): The honourable member obviously did not listen, but I will go through it all again. I talked about the Safe Partying Initiative, which includes input; I talked about the negotiations with Coopers and places such as Woolworths, which the office was involved in; I talked about the promotion of the responsible consumption of alcohol messages, which the office has input into; the parents' guide, again, which the office has input into; and I talked about the office being involved in and having input into the development of the alcohol action plan. So, virtually all of the initiatives that I have listed—I did qualify the federal initiatives—the office has in some way had input into. So, the honourable member needs to clean out her ears.