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First Reading of Alcohol Reform Bill

( Justice Minister Simon Power is encouraging the public to have a say on the Government’s Alcohol Reform Bill after it passed its first reading in Parliament today by 114 votes to 3.

“I hope the public will take the opportunity to submit to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee as it considers the bill over the next six months,” Mr Power said.

“The bill is Parliament’s starting point for alcohol reform.

“The Government is interested in hearing from all sides of the debate to ensure we come away with legislation which is balanced, workable and, most importantly, enduring.

“The bill is 225 pages long and its objective is simple – to zero in on alcohol-related harm – especially where our youth are concerned.”

Among the provisions, the bill:

* Makes licences harder to get and easier to loose, with more scope to object to applications, and more grounds to decline them.
* Empowers local communities to address issues including the concentration, location, and opening hours of alcohol outlets via the adoption of local alcohol policies. Where an LAP is not adopted the maximum national trading hours will apply.
* Clarifies that corner dairies are not eligible for licences.
* Introduces a split purchasing age of 18 for bars and clubs and 20 for supermarkets and bottle stores.
* Makes it an offence to supply alcohol to minors without parental consent or in an irresponsible manner.
* Allows for alcohol products which are particularly dangerous or appealing to youth to be banned.
* Enables the size and strength of RTDs to be limited.
* Makes it an offence to promote alcohol in a way which has special appeal to minors or promote the excessive consumption of alcohol at both on-licences and off-licences.
* Widens the areas covered by liquor bans to include car parks and school grounds.

Mr Power said it is up to each party’s caucus to decide how to vote on the bill.

“National MPs will vote along party lines except for the issue of the alcohol purchase age, which will be a conscience vote during the Committee stage of the bill.”

Mr Power hopes to have the bill passed into law before the end of this parliamentary term. It’s anticipated that most changes will be in force within a year of the legislation being passed.

Media Release 11 November 2010 from Simon Power, Minister of Justice.



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