Rod Barton MP believes the Liquor Control Reform Amendment Bill 2021 expected to be debated in the Legislative Council in the coming weeks puts vulnerable workers in harm’s way.
Alcohol retail turnover in Victoria increased by 33% from $2.6 billion to $3.4 billion from 2019 to 2020. The rate of family violence incidents attended by Victoria Police increased by 9% in the same period. This is no coincidence.
This bill will not only make it easier for both minors and intoxicated individuals to attain alcohol, but it will put the responsibility of refusing service on vulnerable and exploited food delivery drivers and riders.
Food delivery drivers are some of the lowest-paid workers in Australia and are known to be earning often less than $10 an hour. Riders are predominately young temporary migrants, making them more vulnerable to exploitation.
We have seen, time and time again, these food delivery service providers penalize or ban drivers and riders from the platform without proper review or the opportunity for dispute resolution. Drivers and riders are likely to feel a perceived pressure to deliver the alcohol, regardless of the age or condition of the person receiving it, in fear that they will be penalized or banned from the app for refusing delivery.
There will also come situations where delivery drivers and riders are on the doorstep of a heavily intoxicated and aggressive individual late at night and face the real prospect that if they refuse service, they will be subjected to both physical and verbal abuse.
If the driver chooses to provide the alcohol to the customer in fear for their safety, it is unclear who will be liable if an intoxicated customer commits assault or if a minor becomes unwell and hospitalised after consuming alcohol. Essentially, these drivers and riders will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Barton believes this bill will both increase the occurrence of alcohol-related harm such as family violence and increase the risk of food delivery drivers and riders facing physical and verbal abuse.
There are almost no safeguards in the bill to ensure alcohol is delivered responsibly, this poses a significant risk to our communities.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
“In my 30 years as a taxi driver I have seen what happens after dark and it ain’t pretty. I have had drunk people abuse me, spit on me, punch my car and threaten me. I can only imagine what will happen to a lone delivery driver who tries to refuse service.”
“After the first alcohol delivery there is no need for id verification and drivers can simply leave alcohol at the door. The Government must be incredibly naïve if they think minors or heavily intoxicated individuals won’t take advantage of this complete lack of safeguards.”
“This bill will allow alcohol to be delivered to drunk and aggressive family violence perpetrators within 20 minutes of the order being placed. What are they thinking?”
“The bill allows same-day delivery of one bottle of wine or six cans. What planet are they on thinking with thousands of cafes and restaurants providing liquor deliveries that, A. this will be adhered to or… B. that the regulator could possibly enforce it.”
Media contact: Norm Dunn, Chief of Staff Rod Barton MP, 0438 175 113 Norm.firstname.lastname@example.org