Common sense has prevailed in the dispute with NT Licensing over selling condiments containing alcohol.
Retail Drinks Australia met with NT Licensing last week to resolve the situation, after a letter was sent to retailers stating that if a vendor wanted to sell any product over 50ml that contained 1.15% ethyl alcohol or more, they required a liquor licence, and if the items were being sold without a licence currently, it was in violation of the NT Liquor Act.
This included products such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauces and marinades, cough syrup, mouthwash, nailpolish remover, vanilla essence.
Licencing inspectors were reported to have visited a range of stores in Darwin and Alice Springs and insisted items be taken off the shelves.
Berry Springs Tavern poked fun at the situation by creating a soy sauce martini with a dim sim garnish …
“Affected retailers which include grocery stores, petrol stations and pharmacies, all of which have sold these products for the last 40 years, are now being thrown into chaos with Licensing Inspectors visiting these premises and insisting products be pulled from shelves,” Retail Drinks Australia noted.
Retail Drinks confirmed following the meeting that only beverages are governed by the Liquor Act 1978, and therefore only beverages can be regulated by NT Licensing.
Therefore, any non-beverage product which contains more than 1.15% ethyl alcohol by volume and in a container larger than 50ml may continue to be sold in retail outlets without the authority of a liquor licence and alongside other normal grocery products.
Retail Drinks added: “Licensees should also be aware that the current Liquor Act 1978 is soon to be replaced with the new Liquor Act 2019 currently before Parliament.
“The new Act, scheduled to come into effect in October this year, defines the products in this communication as ‘inedible substances containing alcohol’ containing more than 1.15% of ethyl alcohol by volume and not intended to be ingested. We understand the intent is that inedible substances are going to be dealt with by regulation, and are largely exempt from the operation of the Act.
“Retail Drinks will provide retailers with more information regarding the regulation of inedible substances containing alcohol closer to the implementation of the new Act.”
NT News noted: “The fact that this argument had to happen at all is beyond nonsensical.
“The Territory has a problem with alcohol and it needs a government body trying to deal with that.
“It does not need an overzealous Liquor Commission making farsical decisions to justify its own creation.”
New Liquor Act for NT
NT leader of Government Business, Natasha Fyles issued a statement yesterday saying that the implementation of new liquor legislation in the territory is a complete rewrite of the Liquor Act 1978, and achieves 70 recommendations from the Riley Review.
She said the Territory Government’s alcohol reforms are having an impact on cutting violent crime in the NT through a reduction in the supply of alcohol through the Banned Drinker Register, a new Police alcohol unit and 75 new Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors.
The most recent crime statistics show that assaults involving alcohol are at their lowest rates in 10 years – down 37% in Alice Springs, while domestic violence assaults are down 25%.
Additionally alcohol-related hospital presentations have also had significant drops – down 28.9% in the latest quarter.
“For decades alcohol-fuelled crime and violence has had a devastating impact on our communities, homes and businesses,” she noted.
“The Territory Labor Government’s alcohol reforms are working with violent offending cut across the NT.
“This has been done by reducing the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers through measures like the Banned Drinkers Register, a new Police Alcohol Unit and 75 new Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors.
“These measures are beginning to make a difference, but we know we need to continue to invest in programs and people that cut crime now and in the future.”