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Lessons from Queensland's last-drinks legislation: the use of extended trading permits
journal contributionposted on 2018-05-01, 00:00 authored by Renee Zahnow, Peter MillerPeter Miller, Kerri CoomberKerri Coomber, Dominique de AndradeDominique de Andrade, Jason Ferris
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: The association between alcohol availability, alcohol consumption and, in turn, alcohol-related harms is well established. Policies to reduce alcohol-related harms focus on limiting accessibility through the regulation of the liquor industry, including trading hours. On 1 July 2016, the Queensland Government introduced legislation to reduce ordinary liquor trading hours, replacing 5 am closing times with 3 am cessation of liquor sales in designated entertainment precincts and 2 am cessation of sales across the rest of the state. However, the amendment was under-inclusive and did not apply to temporary extended trading permits, a provision of the Liquor Act 1992 allowing one-off variations in trading hours for special events. DESIGN AND METHODS: We use 24 months of data (1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016) from the Office of Liquor Gaming and Regulation to explore patterns of extended trading permit use across Queensland, pre- and post- 1 July 2016. RESULTS: We find that following the Amendment in 2016 there was also a distinct shift in the utilisation of temporary extended trading permits, with a 63% increase in approved permits between 2015 and 2016. Temporal clustering around key calendar events dissipated following 1 July 2016 with consistent concentration of permit utilisation over consecutive weeks. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Using temporary extended trading permits venue owners avoided earlier closing times and continued to operate until 5 am. The findings provide lessons for future policy implementation by illustrating the capacity for under-inclusive legislation to result in the dilution of intended effects.