Local shops are asking the government to allow them to sell alcohol because of pandemic loss of income
Struggling convenience stores are demanding the right to sell alcohol to boost sales and survive the coronavirus blockade
- Local shops asked the Queensland Parliament to let them sell alcohol
- They said sales would support declining revenues and support consumers
- The idea was dropped in an investigation in favor of job support measures
Local shops are demanding that the government lift restrictions that prohibit them from selling alcohol while struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposal was recently submitted to the Queensland government during a parliamentary inquiry into its response to the economic impact of the pandemic.
The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores said existing alcohol laws were “archaic and inconsistent” and “falsely preferred large supermarkets.”
The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores submitted a proposal to the Queensland government to allow stores to sell alcohol to support declining income during the pandemic
But Queensland’s Attorney General, Yvette D’Ath, said the proposal would not be considered, as the investigation would focus more on supporting employment.
“Our overwhelming focus is on supporting jobs and employment in Queensland, including our licensed pubs, clubs and other locations if these arise from coronavirus restrictions,” D’Ath said.
Jeff Rogut, CEO of AACS, told Daily Mail Australia that the change would be positive for consumers and that retailers could continue to float during the pandemic.
“Some of our operators have been hit very hard, especially in the CBD areas where foot traffic simply no longer exists now that people are working from home,” he said.
“We see it as an opportunity not only for our operators, but also for our consumers who don’t want to go to a big drink shed to buy beer or wine on the way home.”
Mr. Rogut said that allowing alcohol in convenience stores would bring Australia in line with operators in Europe, the US and Southeast Asia.
“About 70 percent of the alcohol industry is controlled in one form or another by the two major supermarket groups, so we’re only asking for the ability to compete in a level playing field,” he said.
Mr. Rogut said that operators have already shown that they can responsibly sell limited adult items such as tobacco and lottery tickets, and that the industry is happy to comply with all alcohol regulations.
Jeff Rogut, CEO of AACS, said allowing alcohol in convenience stores would align Australia with operators in Europe, the U.S. and Southeast Asia
He said that while there is support for the proposal in Parliament, no one will publicly support it because they do not want the availability of alcohol to be increased.
“If I spoke to them one-on-one, I wouldn’t have had any politicians disagree with the proposal,” he said.
“But when we ask them if they want to support these bills, the vast majority say, ‘Oh look, we can’t do that because there are no votes in it.’
Mr. Rogut said that increasing the availability of alcohol is a serious social problem that should be considered, but he noted that it has not stopped operators under Coles and Woolworths from opening new stores.