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​Investigation into alcohol shopper dockets

30 August 2013         [PDF,20kb]

An investigation by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) into two specific alcohol shopper docket promotions by Coles and Woolworths does not support a ban of the activity under the liquor laws.

The Director General of NSW Trade & Investment, Mark Paterson, has powers under the Liquor Act to ban or restrict irresponsible liquor promotions if he is satisfied that they are likely to encourage the misuse or abuse of alcohol.

“After careful consideration of the matter, I am not satisfied that these two promotions are likely to encourage the misuse or abuse of alcohol and therefore regulatory action cannot be taken at this time,” Mr Paterson said.

“In forming this view I have taken into consideration a wide range of factors including the nature of the promotions, the types of products being offered, the demographic targeted by the activity, and harm minimisation controls implemented by the supermarket chains.

“I am not of the opinion that these two promotions - which include the sale of quality bottles of wine - are likely to encourage the misuse or abuse of alcohol (such as binge drinking and excessive consumption) which is the test required under the liquor laws to ban or restrict promotions.

“However, both Coles and Woolworths have been warned that bans could be imposed in future if promotions are likely to encourage the misuse or abuse of alcohol and appropriate harm minimisation measures have not been put in place.

“Industry is advised that harm minimisation measures can include limits of one docket redemption per customer, limits on the amount of free alcohol, not promoting products which appeal to at-risk and younger drinkers such as ready-to-drink beverages, and ensuring all dockets state that under 18s cannot participate. “OLGR will be closely monitoring these and other alcohol promotions to ensure they do not encourage misuse or abuse of alcohol. We are committed to ensuring that all licensed venues, including bottleshops, do not conduct irresponsible alcohol promotions.

“OLGR is actively targeting irresponsible alcohol promotions. Over the past 12 months 58 written directions have been issued restricting or prohibiting pub, club, restaurant and bottleshop promotions and activities deemed irresponsible.”

The Coles shopper docket promotion offered customers a buy-one, get-one-free offer limited to a Secret Stone Sauvignon Blanc or a Rosabrook Margaret River Classic White bottle of wine. The Woolworths shopper docket promotion offered customers a six pack of Sol Mexican Beer with the purchase of a South Island Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc bottle of wine.