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Last drinks: Party could be over for online sales and delivery of alcohol

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Queenslanders ordering beer, wine and spirits online could face tough new restrictions as the state government moves to tighten regulation of liquor sales and delivery, in line with NSW and Victoria.

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Data from the national Alcohol and Drug Foundation shows revenue from online alcohol sales increased by almost 20 per cent since 2016, hitting $1.8 billion in 2021.

While existing alcohol retailers and new companies offer online delivery services, the Queensland government admits liquor laws have failed to keep up and the current legislation focuses on “bricks and mortar” licensed premises.

“Research shows the dangers of ordering liquor online and having it delivered, and we want to address the high risks associated with these sales, including the potential supply of liquor to minors and unduly intoxicated people,” Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said.

“We know ordering liquor online and having it delivered offers customers greater convenience and provides commercial benefits for liquor retailers and delivery businesses, but we must ensure appropriate safeguards exist to ensure potential harm and violence is minimised.”

While the Alcohol and Drug Foundation said evidence around the impact of online alcohol delivery is limited, it has raised concerns about the potential increase in alcohol-related harm.

“This is largely because these services are not regulated as strictly as traditional alcohol outlets,” it says on its website.

It fears underage drinkers are receiving alcohol without proper ID checks and home delivery has the potential to increase the risk of secondary supply and young people’s exposure to alcohol.

Delivery services can extend heavy drinking occasions and risky drinkers, including those experiencing alcohol dependence, use online delivery to access alcohol quickly and easily.

Currently Queenslanders do not have to provide ID verification when buying alcohol online.

“We have already seen New South Wales and Victoria implement new legislation to regulate the online sale and delivery of liquor and this issue requires our attention too,” Fentiman said.

The government is seeking the views of industry, the community and stakeholders on the potential benefits, costs, risks, issues and impacts associated with a new regulatory framework until May 10.

“I encourage the liquor industry and community stakeholders to read the consultation paper and have their say, their views are valued and will contribute to ensuring we get this important reform right,” Fentiman said.

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