The New South Wales state government has closed loopholes in online alcohol delivery through reforms to the state’s alcohol policy.

The reforms will stop alcohol being delivered to people who are intoxicated and raise the standard for Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training. The new laws in NSW will make it mandatory for companies to check that they’re not selling alcohol to children for deliveries made the same day.

The rapid growth of online alcohol retail and on-demand delivery of alcohol has raised concerns across Australia about increased alcohol harm including underage consumption, fueling heavy alcohol use and violence.

COVID-19 has only made matters worse for alcohol-fueled violence as victims are often locked in with their abusers.

COVID-19 has increased the already unacceptably high risk of violence for many women and children,” said Ms. Hayley Foster, CEO of Women’s Safety NSW, as per FARE website.

While it’s not the primary driver of family violence, alcohol can increase both its severity and frequency.”

Ms. Hayley Foster, CEO, Women’s Safety NSW

Movendi International is monitoring and reporting on emerging alcohol issues during the ongoing public health crisis around the world. Previous stories on the Australian situation have highlighted:

  1. Increasing alcohol use and harm in the country,
  2. The changing alcohol norm and alcohol consumption behaviors in the country,
  3. Increasing violence during COVID-19, and
  4. Big Alcohol exploiting the pandemic in their marketing in Australia.

According to Ms. Foster, 73% of family violence specialists report that they have noticed an escalation in violence and abuse triggered by alcohol and other drug use during COVID-19.

Family violence workers advocate for improving alcohol availability rules, especially late night and high-volume deliveries of alcohol.

These measures are a good first step, and we look forward to working together with the NSW Government on further reforms to keep women and children free from violence,”

Ms. Hayley Foster, CEO, Women’s Safety NSW

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) welcomed the new measures which will safeguard children from alcohol harm. FARE also stressed that more needs to be done to ensure alcohol companies selling online are accountable for the harm their products can cause.

Unattended delivery and rapid deliveries within two hours are still able to be made up until midnight and are putting our children and families at risk of harm,” said Ms. Caterina Giorgi, CEO of FARE, as per FARE website.

Ms. Caterina Giorgi, CEO, FARE

The Annual Alcohol Poll conducted by FARE found that in 2020,

  • Rapid delivery of alcohol within two hours of the previous delivery is associated with heavy alcohol use;
  • The majority of people who received rapid delivery (70%) consumed more than four standard units of alcohol that day; and
  • The above included more than a third (38%) of people who consumed more than ten standard units of alcohol that day.

Additionally, the NSW Government has committed to undertaking a two-year review to consider these and a range of other issues.

The review is an important part of examining how alcohol companies use direct and social media marketing, as well as personal data to target people who are most vulnerable,” said Ms. Giorgi.

It’s critical that other states and territories address the loopholes in laws relating to online alcohol delivery to help keep our families and children safe.”

Caterina Giorgi, CEO, FARE

Source Website: FARE