New laws run grog runners out of remote communities

People who sneak liquor illegally into dry communities will now face tough penalties, with the commencement of new laws aimed at tackling ‘grog running’.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the issue of illegally selling and supplying liquor to South Australia’s dry communities has long been an issue for remote parts of the state, with the new provisions representing another step towards combatting alcohol-related harm.

“Selling and supplying liquor in our dry communities is a serious issue, and has been for some time,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“We know that liquor can have devastating effects and contributes to violence, disorder, anti-social behaviour and ongoing medical problems.

“There are already offences for those who sell liquor without a licence and specific provisions that regulate the possession and consumption of liquor in specific communities.

“These reforms were introduced because of the recognised need to address alcohol-related harm occurring in some vulnerable remote Aboriginal communities, despite existing measures designed to regulate the possession, consumption and use of liquor.

“Local leaders and groups representing those remote communities have been consulted, and these changes have their support.”

Attorney-General Chapman said the Government would be working with liquor licence holders near dry communities, to ensure they understand their responsibilities.

“Under the new laws, they too will be held responsible if they sell liquor to an unlicensed seller and they had reasonable belief the purchaser was an unlicensed seller – and the penalty can be up to $20,000 or $40,000 for a second or subsequent offence,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“This is in addition to a new general trafficking offence and new offence of supplying liquor to dry communities.”

Attorney-General Chapman said if a person was found in possession of more than a certain amount of liquor - and found in a designated area - the onus would be on the individual to prove that it was for their own personal use.

Those amounts are:

· 750ml of spirits (approx. 1 standard size bottle) ; or

· 4L of wine (approx. 5 x bottles (750mls)); or

· 9L of beer (approx. 25 x bottles (355mls)); or

· 4.5L of pre-mixed alcohol (approx. 13 x bottles (345mls) Rum and Cola).

The new laws come into effect today.