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New WA liquor restrictions placed on hold

New WA liquor restrictions placed on hold

The WA Liquor Commission has suspended proposed new Pilbara-wide restrictions due to be imposed on March 31 while it examines several appeals.

The restrictions would have seen takeaway alcohol sales banned on Sunday and introduction of a daily takeaway limit of one bottle of spirits or a combination of a carton of beer and three bottles of wine a week.

The Australian Hotels Association (WA) said it welcomed today’s decision, which it said will allow the Commission to review and scrutinise the proposed restrictions, which the AHA has consistently opposed.

CEO Bradley Woods urged the regulator to go back to the drawing board.

“These blanket restrictions across an entire region will be ineffective in achieving the very thing they are designed to address – alcohol abuse,” Woods said.

“Everyone wants to see a reduction in alcohol and drug related harm however this needs to be done in a targeted, effective way if we are to see real results.”

“Where alcohol restrictions have applied to other parts of Western Australia alcoholics have moved to other areas.

“The proposed restrictions have major flaws, making it easy for problem drinkers to circumvent them and rendering the policy useless.

“The AHA has long advocated for the introduction of a Banned Drinkers Register, which has widespread support from industry, the State Government the wider community.

“The only way to see a sustained, meaningful reduction in alcohol-related harm is to ensure problem drinkers cannot access alcohol – this can only be done through the introduction of a Banned Drinkers Register.”

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel also supported the decision to suspend the trial.

“Restrictions won’t solve the problem because the actual people committing alcohol abuse, we are not taking them to task,” he said.

Local publican and chairman of the West Pilbara Liquor Accord, Bart Parsons, told ABC News in January: "It's definitely not great for the stigma of the place.

"It's not really the right direction that the Pilbara wants to head in. When you've got Tourism WA talking about activating the place and you've got this sort of thing come out in the news. It's not making people want to come and visit the area."

Parsons added that he did not think the changes would work.

"We are not happy about the fact that we could be making some changes with the banned drinkers' register, but we are just doing something that has been done time and time again," he said.

"It segregates parts of society even further. We are not actually helping these people out really, we are just sort of pushing them away to other substances. I'd really like to see a holistic approach."