Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hamilton raises glass to Alcohol Act changes

Hamilton City Council has applauded moves to make it easier for communities to set their own guidelines for the sale of alcohol.

Last week, Justice Minister, Kiri Allan announced proposed changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.  

One of the changes would remove the right to appeal the introduction of local alcohol policies (LAPs).   

An LAP is developed in consultation with the community to set out how alcohol can be sold, such as the number and location of premises, trading hours and any special conditions.  

The LAP must then be considered when a council’s District Licensing Committee issues individual licenses.  

Council’s attempt to introduce an LAP in 2016 was thwarted by appeals. It was abandoned in 2018 following unsuccessful negotiations which resulted in costs to ratepayers of more than $200,000, it said in a statement. 

Any individual or organisation can appeal an LAP, however, nationwide the bulk of appeals are made by supermarkets (86%) and bottle stores (73%)*. 

Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate said the proposed changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act could reduce alcohol-related harm in the community by putting more controls around the sale of liquor. 

Importantly, the changes give councils and their communities more power to decide how and where alcohol is sold, she said.

“Hamilton has previously voiced its concerns about the appeals process which can be both costly and time consuming,” the Mayor said.  

“Alcohol does cause harm in our communities. The changes put forward by the Government allow councils to create alcohol policies which serve the interests of their communities.” 

While the appeal process would be removed under the proposed changes, businesses could continue to give feedback on the development of LAPs when councils open consultation with its community.  

The proposed changes are expected to be passed into law by mid-2023.  

*Figures as of May 2022.  

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