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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The AMA (WA) has largely welcomed the State Government’s proposed changes to liquor licensing in WA , but has warned that legitimate health concerns should not be ignored in favour of the drive for tourism dollars.
Currently, the Police Commissioner and the Department of Health can lodge objections to new venue applications, while the proposed changes gives the chief executive of Tourism WA ‘equal weight’ in determining if new venue applications are approved.
Proposed changes to the legislation will also seek to allow all licensed restaurants and venues to serve alcohol without a meal, and patrons will be able to take a half-finished bottle of wine home.
“It seems reasonable to take a broader view, but it is really important that legitimate concerns by health authorities or by police are not diluted by a purely economic focus that you’re going to get from Tourism Australia,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said.
“What we need to see in our community is a more mature approach to alcohol.
“Drinking without ordering a meal in small quantities is safe and not a problem, but obviously we need to monitor these sorts of changes very carefully to make sure that people aren’t consuming large amounts of alcohol on an empty stomach, which is leading to then risky behaviour.”
“Concerns also remain over the serious antisocial behaviour related to alcohol abuse that ultimately ends with people in our emergency departments.
“We need to take small steps before fully adopting a more continental European drinking culture.
“This means improved education on the risks of binge drinking, the introduction of a minimum floor price for alcohol and licensing appropriate venues that encourage reasonable consumption and don’t encourage a binge drinking culture,” Dr Khorshid said.