Hope Community Services and Cancer Council WA are calling on the State Government to better protect the WA community from alcohol delivery companies, following new research that shows alcohol is being delivered without checks for ID and intoxication, while vulnerable people are subject to highly targeted marketing.
Research released today highlighted significant concerns around current practices around the online ordering and delivery of alcohol. Commissioned by Cancer Council WA and conducted by Deakin University, the research presents the findings of a survey of nearly 500 people who used alcohol delivery companies between August and September last year.
“Researchers found 22% had their delivery left unattended at the door and 50% did not have to show ID to prove they were over 18,” said Danica Keric, Alcohol Program Manager at Cancer Council WA.
“A quarter of respondents had alcohol delivered while intoxicated.”
“The community expects there to be measures in place so that alcohol is not sold and supplied to people who are under 18 and people who are intoxicated,” Ms Keric said. “Yet the research shows that checks and balances we expect as a community from bricks-and-mortar liquor stores are not being upheld online.”
Vulnerable people at risk of harm
Hope Community Services Chief Growth and Innovation Officer, Helen Mitchell, is concerned about the additional risks for people who drink at high risk levels.
“People who drink at high risk levels are receiving multiple promotions to buy online each day, including deals to buy now pay later,” Ms Mitchell said.
“They are also more likely to use rapid or same day delivery companies, order higher volumes of alcohol, and to place and receive alcohol orders while they are intoxicated.
“As a leading alcohol and other drug service provider, we know the devastating effect that harmful drinking can have on individuals, families and communities, so it is disappointing to see how often alcohol delivery companies are enabling this behaviour and putting people at risk.
“The government needs to take the lead on this and make sure legislation keeps up.”
The alcohol delivery industry in now worth an estimated $2 billion in Australia, enjoying a boom period during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
Strong regulation needed
While the State Government did introduce some measures in February last year to regulation this industry, both Hope and Cancer Council WA are call for additional measures to reduce the risk of harm to the community.
These measures include:
- No alcohol deliveries to be left unattended.
- Proof of age (ID) checks for all deliveries.
- Intoxication checked at all deliveries.
- Alcohol deliveries limited to 10am and 10pm.
- Mandatory delay of 2 hours between alcohol ordering and delivery to prevent impulse purchases.
- Online alcohol retailers to use independent digital age verification mechanism.
- Alcohol companies to be prevented from targeting people at their most vulnerable.
HOPE provides programs, services and interventions to support individuals, families and communities to address issues around alcohol and other drugs.