Bundy Rum boss blasts liquor laws
THE Bundaberg rum boss has blasted state liquor laws, saying they benefit interstate beverage makers at the expense of the Queensland brand.
Kylie McPherson, who was appointed chairwoman of the famous rum distillery in July, said the Government's crackdown on pre-mixed drinks in 2016 had hit hard.
"This ban unfairly targets a local Queensland industry," she said. "The law says that after midnight Queenslanders can buy a large glass of wine or a pint of beer that could contain as much as 2.5 standard drinks, but can't buy a can of Bundaberg Rum OP and Cola that's 1.9 standard drinks.
"It makes no sense that a consumer can buy any wine or beer after midnight even though it may contain more alcohol than a pre-mixed spirit.
"It seems counter-productive that an economically-important Queensland product is unfairly discriminated against in its own state."
The salvo from the Bundaberg Rum boss is the latest criticism of Labor's liquor laws which were supposed to "boost the social life and economy of Queensland's towns, cities and entertainment precincts".
The Government has already backflipped on plans to lock out patrons from 1am in Queensland's 15 Safe Night Out precincts, and introduced ID scanners instead.
The issue now shapes as key battleground in the looming state election.
Ms McPherson said she hoped the election would herald more parochial and sensible policies that no longer disadvantaged the distillery, which has won international awards.
"Our state legislation needs to show similar recognition and support for a Queensland success story," she said. "Our laws need to stop unfairly targeting spirits and giving free hits to products from southern states."
As well as pre-mixed drinks with more than 5 per cent alcohol, the midnight ban introduced last year also extends to shots and cocktails not listed on a menu.
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said rapid consumption and high-alcohol drinks presented the greatest risks of harm and the Government consulted widely before introducing the laws.
"Diaego Australia, the global parent company of Bundaberg Rum, was part of this process," she said.
She said the Government would evaluate the laws from July next year.
Opposition fair trading spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said the Government's liquor laws had again been exposed as a joke.
"Their no shots after midnight rule is just another example of how common sense has been tossed out the window," he said. "It's inconsistent in how it's applied to the alcohol strength and impossible to regulate.
"Under Labor's farcical laws you can buy a shot of spirits or liqueur in a tumbler after midnight, drink it as if it's a shot and not be captured by the law.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk has turned Queensland into a nanny state, with no benefit to community safety or the health of patrons."