Queensland Parliamentary Enquiry into Alcohol-Related Violence has finished and the final report contains 68 recommendations. One recommendation is to ban bottleshops from advertsing discounted liquor in Queensland.
It contravenes trade practices law to fix prices. However, research has shown that price is one of the effective means of addressing levels of liquor consumption.
A UK study (Purshouse R C 2010) said:
General price increases were effective for a reduction of consumption, health care costs, and health-related quality of life losses in all population sub-groups.
Remember dollar drinks, 2 for 1 offers and four hour happy hours? Prior to the 2005 amendments to the Liquor Act, enacting the Brisbane City Safety Action Plan, the media was full of these kinds of promotions. That?s when the Queensland State Government cleverly side-stepped the TPA problem by regulating advertising rather than price, with the result that advertising, at least for the on-premises branch of the industry, shifted focus to image ? entertainment and food offerings and so on. Despite initial reservations, licensees across the board were very quickly on side.
Consider the impact of this change on the perception of liquor as a product.
This strategy must be extended to capture the 70 to 80% of total liquor sales represented by off premises outlets. No-one can argue that continuing to permit advertising of $2 and $3 bottles of wine is consistent with changing cultural and societal attitudes toward liquor consumption.
Our treasurer recently commented along the lines of “No-one goes to First Choice for the decor” but perhaps they should. And if not for the decor, then for the customer service, or the range, or the wine expertise, or the convenience and parking – not simply price.