Investigating the impact of liquor superstores in Western Australia

  • Research program: Alcohol policy and strategies
  • Project status: Current
  • Start date: April 2014
  • Expected end date: June 2020
  • Completion date:
  • Funded by: Drug & Alcohol Office WA
  • Lead organisation:

Large discount liquor ‘superstores’ are a recent entry into the WA liquor market and their presence appears to be expanding. They typically offer a large format supermarket-like experience for purchasing alcohol for off-premise consumption, lowest price guarantee, ease of access and convenient location. Their impact on surrounding communities has not been specifically examined; however, their inherent capacity for large volumes of sales suggests that they may be at risk of facilitating higher levels of consumption and related harms in the surrounding population.

This project will examine the impact of selected liquor superstores in Western Australia on levels of alcohol use and alcohol-related harms in surrounding residential areas. The project will be undertaken in two parts: 1) a community telephone survey to assess purchasing and consumption habits of residents and, 2) an analysis of alcohol-related harm data from before and after the establishment of liquor superstores. Both parts of the projects will be undertaken at four sites: two matched metropolitan postcodes (one containing a superstore and one without a superstore) and, similarly, two regional postcodes.

This study will be the first to explore the changes in local rates of alcohol-related harms before and after the establishment of liquor superstores. Using a range of measures of alcohol-related harms (sourcing data from ED presentations and hospitalisations, as well as police data) will provide a complete picture of alcohol-related harms in the postcodes under study and hence the potential impact of liquor superstores on the adjacent communities. This project aims to directly enhance the process by which evidence-based decisions regarding liquor licensing applications in Western Australia are carried out.

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