From this weekend, Western Australian police will have the discretion to seize and dispose of illegal alcohol following new regulations introduced by the McGowan government to address sly grogging.
Sly grogging is the practice of selling liquor without a licence or carrying liquor for the purpose of sale.
Western Australia’s Racing and Gaming Minister, Reece Whitby said, “Sly grogging is a significant issue in regional and remote communities…I hope this will be a deterrent for members of the community who prey on the vulnerable – and profit off them.”
The regulations come into effect in the Kimberley and aim to reduce alcohol-related harm and crack down on those who prey on the vulnerable by illegally selling large quantities of alcohol at inflated prices.
The State Government said that it had consulted widely with liquor industry associations and public health bodies in developing the legislative amendments. The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) of WA, the Liquor Stores Association of WA (LSAWA) and Retail Drinks Australia have welcomed the amendments.
The AHA WA said that it had been highlighting the issue of sly grogging for well over a decade.
CEO Mr Bradley Woods said, “Sadly, for far too long we have seen opportunists bring large quantities of beer and hard liquor into communities which circumvents and profits from the restrictions in place.”
“This illegal activity not only renders the restrictions ineffective, it penalises licensees who are abiding by the limitations on alcohol sales.”
From Saturday limits will be in place on the quantity and types of liquor that can be legally transported in a vehicle. The carriage limits will reflect the liquor restrictions that are currently in place in the Kimberley.
LSAWA CEO, Peter Peck suggested that the regulations may need to go further. He said, “It’s a good first step but we also need to see the spotlight thrown onto postal and freight services which may provide a loophole for the full effectiveness of these regulations.”
They carriage limits include:
- one carton of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits; or
- three bottles of wine; or
- one litre of spirits or fortified wine; or
- a combination of two products per adult in the vehicle, per day.
They apply in the towns of Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham, and within 20 kilometres of those towns as well as within five kilometres of dry Aboriginal communities.
Exemptions apply to tourists, pastoralists, station owners and operators of remote work sites. Those breaching the limits may face fines of up to $10,000.
Retail Drinks CEO Michael Waters said, “These measures are a clear example of a State and Territory Government developing and putting in place specific, targeted policy solutions to help address alcohol-related harm rather than blunt all-of-population measures.”