Responsible drinking

It has never been more important for the sector to ensure its advertising and marketing are responsible.

COVID-19 Update: 16 April 2020

Responsible drinking

It has never been more important for the sector to ensure its advertising and marketing are responsible.

The anti-alcohol lobby is using the COVID-19 crisis to attack the wine industry. Anti-alcohol advocacy group, the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), are claiming one in five Australians have purchased more alcohol than usual during the health crisis. The research firm YouGov Galaxy (more widely known as a political pollster) was commissioned by FARE to carry out a survey.

FARE claims that the poll shows that 33 percent of Australians are now drinking daily, while 70 percent are drinking more than usual. According to FARE more than a quarter of those polled also said they were now using alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety.

FARE are using this poll to call for action from governments across the country to address the alcohol industry’s marketing practices, and place limits on online alcohol product delivery. The response from Alcohol Beverages Australia is attached (or see here).

NSW Government waves fees on liquor licences

The NSW Government have announced they are waving a range of liquor licence fees for businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries. Most licensees will have their annual liquor licence base fee and trading hours risk loading fee waived for 12 months (2020-2021 fee period). These licensees will receive a $0 invoice. Compliance risk loadings will not be waived, but will be deferred and included as part of 2021-2022 annual liquor licence fees.

Licences eligible for the automatic fee waiver include:

•   small bar licence
•   microbreweries and small distilleries licence
•   on-premises licence
•   club licence
•   hotel licence
•   producer/wholesaler licence
•   limited licences
•   general bar licence
•   packaged liquor licence (if three or less outlets are owned by the same licensee or business)

If you are experiencing financial hardship, but not eligible for the automatic annual liquor licence fee waiver, you will still be able to apply for a fee waiver. For detail see here.

The Queensland Government announced waivers on 6 April 2020. For details see here.

The South Australian Government announced waivers on 7 April 2020 too. For details see here.

The Victorian Government announced waivers on 7 April 2020. For details see here.

NT tightens controls on takeaway alcohol sales

New emergency restrictions on the sale of takeaway alcohol in the Northern Territory came into force on 15 April 2020, in a bid to discourage public gatherings.

The restrictions came into effect at 10.00am yesterday and were enabled by the Declaration of a Public Health Emergency.

They mean bottleshop attendants in the Territory can now refuse to sell alcohol to people who live outside the place of purchase, unless the store licensee believes they have a lawful place to drink.

Liquor licensing director Philip Timney said the controls were necessary because, despite social distancing rules, people were gathering in groups to drink.

SA clarifies guidance on cellar doors

The South Australian Government yesterday eased sales restrictions on wineries, breweries, cellar doors and distilleries allowing these businesses to sell alcohol, food or other products on a take-away basis.

Previous directives issued in March and reiterated in April, prevented these premises from trading on a click-and-collect basis, allowing online or telephone sales only if the delivery was made to the purchaser.

The new direction, which became effective from 11.00am on Wednesday 15 April, aligns cellar doors with hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Tastings of any kind are still not permitted and consumption of any produce, alcohol or food is not permitted on site.

Social distancing restrictions for people attending wineries, cellar doors, breweries and distilleries remain unchanged and must be complied with.

Further information can be found on the SA Government website or their FAQ download.

For details on restrictions for cellar doors in other states see here.

SA Government cash grants for small business

Small businesses and not-for-profit entities that employ South Australians who have been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant to support the operation of their business.

The grant is being funded from the State Government’s $650 million Jobs Rescue Package. Applications will open shortly and will be open until 1 June 2020.

To be eligible, businesses and not-for-profits including eligible sporting and community organisations will need to:

  • Have an ABN and were carrying on the operation of the business in South Australia on 1 March 2020.
  • Employ people in South Australia.
  • Have annual turnover of more than $75,000 (GST exclusive).
  • Have an annual payroll of less than $1.5 million, and not be entitled to a payroll tax waiver under COVID-19 support measures introduced by the South Australian Government.
  • Have been subject to closure or highly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions.
  • Apply by 1 June 2020.
  • Use the funds to support activities related to the operation of the business.


  • The business has received any South Australian Government grants provided to address COVID-19 related business impacts, the value of these payment(s) will be deducted from the $10,000 grant.
  • The business is part of a group of companies that is registered for payroll tax and will receive the payroll tax waiver, the business is ineligible for this grant.

For details see the media release here.

To register interest visit here.

Wine Australia export report to March 2020 is positive, but COVID-19 impact to come

The value of Australian wine exports continued to grow in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, but Wine Australia reports that the full impact of COVID-19 on exports is still to come.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said total export value increased by 3 per cent over the previous 12 months to $2.87 billion with a record average value for bottled exports of $7.12 per litre free on board (FOB). Over the same period, total export volume declined by 11 per cent to 728 million litres (81 million 9-litre case equivalents) as there is now less wine available due to lower vintages in 2018 and 2019. Although not yet complete, it is clear that vintage 2020 is delivering exceptional quality fruit but yields are down so we anticipate that inventories will continue to be depleted.

Mr Clark warned that the COVID-19 pandemic would take a toll on exports, but due to the patterns traditionally seen in wine exports and with the situation evolving on a daily basis in major markets such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, it was too early to get an accurate picture.

For the media release see here. Wine Australia levy payers can access the full export report by logging in or registering with Wine Australia from the home page

For previous updates and fact sheets and operational guidelines visit AG&W COVID-19 page here.

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