Regulation and control

Controlling the supply of alcohol is a key measure in preventing harms from alcohol use to individuals and the community [20023]. There are a range of approaches to controlling supply of alcohol. Examples of these measures include:

  • reducing the number of outlets selling alcohol
  • reducing trading hours
  • price controls
  • alcohol management plans.

Controlling the availability of alcohol – by restricting trading hours and the number of outlets that sell alcohol – directly influences how much alcohol is consumed and the harms associated with alcohol use such as chronic health conditions, hospitalisation and violence [29752]. States and territories have liquor licensing laws that restrict the way alcohol is sold and allow for individuals or communities to object to liquor license applications. However the number and density of liquor outlets continues to increase [33425]. Inadequate resourcing and barriers to accessing legal process can make it difficult for community members to object to license applications [47225].

In regional and remote areas, alcohol management plans that have been initiated and designed by the local community have been shown to have beneficial health and social effects [32884][33620]. Other alcohol restrictions such as enforcement of ‘dry areas’ that are imposed by local government may simply shift drinking out of public view and are not as effective as community based initiatives [28901][23519].

Pricing of drinks based on alcohol content has also been shown to be an effective way of  discouraging people from buying large quantities of drinks with high alcohol content [24410]. Other approaches like income management (such as with a cashless debit card) attempt to control the purchase of alcohol by restricting what can be bought [34140][33819].

Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in influencing policy around alcohol use is important for effective action on reducing harms from alcohol in communities [42837].


Key resources



Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Pirlinyarnu by Juliette Nampijinpa Brown

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.