WA Liquor Control Act Review

About the Review

Western Australia's liquor laws were recently reviewed by an Independent Review Committee appointed by the Minister for Racing and Gaming, Terry Waldron. The Review Committee received 149 submissions, some of which are published on the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor's website. The submission by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth can be downloaded on the right.

The Review Committee released it's report on 14 January 2014, in which it made 141 recommendations. The recommendations have a strong focus on protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of alcohol. A link to the report is provided on the right of this page.

Our Response

While health groups have expressed reservations about some recommendations, they have broadly welcomed it as a careful, balanced perspective and called on the WA Government to implement its key recommendations.

The review report is overall an excellent report with recommendations that if implemented could do much to reduce alcohol harms and improve the alcohol culture in WA. 

The McCusker Centre has reviewed the Committee's report and noted our position on each recommendation. The McCusker Centre has also identified recommendations where we believe early action would be appropriate and feasible. We urge the WA Government to move to implement the key recommendations at the earliest opportunity.

Read the McCusker Centre's response.

Government Response

The State Government's response to the review of the Liquor Control Act 1988 was tabled in Parliament on 18 November 2014. The response includes some welcome developments, but misses some important opportunities to protect children and young people.

Read the Government's response to the review here.

Read the McCusker Centre's media release following the State Government's response.

Public Support

An independent survey of 1,016 West Australian adults, commissioned by the McCusker Centre in January 2014, shows exceptionally strong public support for several of the key areas in which action is recommended. The results are summarised below:

  • 83% support the recommendation to implement extensive education campaigns targeting cultural change around alcohol use (with only 3% opposed). 
  • 71% support the recommendation to make it easier for people to play a role in the liquor licensing process where applications affect them or their communities (with only 5% opposed).
  • 84% support the recommendation to implement regulations to restrict alcohol promotional activity which is likely to impact on children (with only 5% opposed).
  • 84% support the recommendation to implement regulations to restrict promotional activity that could encourage the irresponsible consumption of alcohol (with only 7% opposed).
  • 83% support the recommendation to enhance the objectives of the WA Liquor Control Act to include minimising harm or ill health in the community related to alcohol (with only 4% opposed).
  • 87% support the recommendation to make it a criminal offence to deliver liquor purchased online to juveniles (with only 5% opposed).
  • 48% support the recommendation that higher risk sales outlets should pay extra for licenses to help fund community education on alcohol (24% opposed).

View the survey report. 

Freedom of Information Request

Public submissions to the review were accepted in early 2013. The submissions of those who consented to making their documents public are available on the  Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor website ; however, this does not represent all submissions to the Review.

The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth believe it to be in the public interest that all submissions being considered by the Review Committee should be open to scrutiny.

The McCusker Centre lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) application in late July 2013 requesting access to all written submissions to the current review of the Liquor Control Act 1988 which were not available on the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor website.

Over 100 days after the FOI application was lodged and following negotiations to reduce the scope of the request, a further 19 submissions were provided to the McCusker Centre with access to a 20th denied on the grounds that it contained “exempt commercial information”. The documents obtained through the FOI process can be accessed on the right.