Barry O’Farrell beholden to booze barons

Posted on: January 30, 2018, by :

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell’s latest stand in support of the alcohol industry makes him unfit to lead a government, according to David Templeman, CEO of the national peak body, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia.

“Mr O’Farrell and his ministry continue to support the alcohol industry, regardless of the obscenities it perpetrates,” Mr Templeman said.

“The O’Farrell government’s decision to step away from a proposed ban on shopping docket alcohol discounts – yet another outlet for cheap alcohol – shows an appalling lack of judgement; it ignores evidence and the opinions of senior police, paramedics and hospital staff who are sick of cleaning up the damage drunken louts cause to themselves and to the wider community.

“Advocacy groups like ADCA and others in the health and wellbeing sector were prevented from commenting on a review of NSW liquor promotion guidelines; we were astonished that the government then let the liquor industry vet the new rules.

“This raises doubts that the review of the Liquor Act announced by Minister Souris will allow former OLGR Commissioner Michael Foggo to carry out this important task free of NSW government meddling,” Mr Templeman said.

According to ADCA, the O’Farrell government has muzzled senior police and officers from the liquor and gaming agency opposed to the free availability of cheap alcohol.

“But NSW Police assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch has spoken out; he blames the availability of cheap alcohol from bottle shops for violence both on the streets and in homes, an assertion backed by his peers in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” Mr Templeman said.

“ADCA is tired of governments’ claims that they are attempting to cut back on alcohol and hospitality red tape, when the reality is that they are firmly in the industry’s pocket.

“Barry O’Farrell and his ministry ignore the pleas of families devastated by alcohol-related violence, opting instead to support the rapacious nature of the alcohol industry whose only aim is to sell as much of its product as possible – regardless of the cost to society.

“Despite an undertaking to fix longstanding problems with alcohol when they were in opposition, the Liberal Party in government has turned avoiding reality into an art form.

“ADCA has responded to three NSW government inquiries into drug and alcohol problems in the past 12 months – all couched in a way that studiously ignores the root cause.

“Mr O’Farrell and his henchmen are not fit to govern,” Mr Templeman said.

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