Factors contributing to alcohol related harm or ill health

This section provides some examples of factors that may increase or reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm or ill-health based on the available evidence.

The factors and related questions to prompt best practice depend on the application type and characteristics, features of the location and the locality, along with many other considerations.

In addition, a number of the factors should be considered in combination to determine whether there is the potential for harm, or mitigation of harm.

Patron capacity/size of outlet

A larger patron capacity or venue size means larger numbers of people consuming alcohol and a greater area to monitor. Patron capacity can impact on patron interaction, aggression and levels of intoxication in a venue.

  • What is the planned patron capacity of the venue?
  • What is in place to reduce issues that can be associated with larger patron numbers such as aggression, intoxication, and patron monitoring?
Food availability

Food availability can minimise the potential for intoxication and related problems.

  • Is food going to be available at the venue?
  • What type of food will be available (full meals, snacks etc.?) and during what trading hours?
Venue design (e.g. seating options, layout)

Venue nature and design can influence levels of crime, disorder, injury and accidents. Comfortable drinking venues with adequate seating are associated with lower levels of alcohol consumption and associated violence and disorder.

  • What features of the venue design mitigate the potential for harm?
  • Does the venue intend to have seating options available to provide comfort to patrons/limit upright drinking space, and in what proportion to overall capacity/venue layout?
Trading/opening hours

Trading hours of a venue can be associated with an increased or decreased risk of harm, depending on the manner of trade of the venue and other factors in the locality.

  • What liquor trading hours are you seeking?
  • Are the trading hours you are proposing likely to increase the risk of harm in the context of existing levels of harm in the locality and the intended manner of trade of your venue?

Type of entertainment

The type of entertainment provided at a venue can play a role in the nature of establishment, patron behaviour and expectations.

  • Will your venue offer entertainment? 
  • If so, what type of entertainment will be provided (e.g. Disc Jockey, live music)? What style will the music be (e.g. background music)?
  • Have you considered the impact the type of entertainment may have on patron behaviour?
Type of alcohol products available

The availability of products or serving sizes that encourage the consumption of large amounts of alcohol, rapid intoxication, or appeal to at-risk groups, can increase the likelihood of alcohol-related problems.

  • Do any of the products you are planning to sell encourage rapid intoxication?
  • Have you considered the impact that serving sizes (e.g. jugs) may have on the potential for drunkenness or ill-health?
  • If you are selling higher risk products, what strategies do you have in place that may mitigate the risk of harm?
Responsible service of alcohol and monitoring
Employing a range of techniques and strategies to minimise alcohol-related problems is an important harm minimisation approach.
  • What strategies do you have in place for monitoring different areas of your venue?
  • Do you have strategies in place that support staff to understand the expectations of management regarding: responsible service of alcohol laws; any potential risk factors associated with the layout/patronage/intended manner of trade; and how to minimise harm associated with these features.
  • Do you have strategies in place that encourage inter-staff communication and support staff to implement non-aggressive patron management techniques?
Sale of packaged liquor and how this is provided
The sale and consumption of packaged liquor can impact on alcohol-related harm in the community. 
  • To whom are you planning to sell packaged liquor?
  • What products are you intending to sell and how do you intend to make them available? 
  • Are there risks associated with the sale of these products and the times/manner in which they will be available, given the characteristics of your venue or the locality?
  • If you are only offering limited products (e.g. boutique products) how are you demonstrating your commitment to limiting packaged liquor sales of these products in a low risk way?
Proximity and visibility in relation to child-focussed locations

Research shows that regular exposure to alcohol product advertising (e.g. on the way to and from school) can have a negative impact on children and young people.

  • Is your venue located close to areas where children and young people congregate?
  • If so, have you considered limiting external alcohol advertising?
  • What strategies do you have in place to limit direct and secondary supply of alcohol?
Proximity and visibility in relation to sensitive services

People who are seeking treatment for drug and alcohol-related problems can be sensitive to factors in their environment (e.g. visibility and accessibility of alcohol).

  • Is your venue located close to sensitive services?
  • If so, have you considered factors which may minimise the risk of harm to at-risk persons attending these services?
Proximity to water/water features

Alcohol use in or nearby water environments can increase the risk of harm. Alcohol use can impair decision-making capacity, balance, coordination and general body function.

  • Does your venue have a water feature, or is it located in close proximity to a large body of water (e.g. river)? 
  • Are patrons able to drink in or near to the water feature?
  • Are there provisions that prevent patrons from drinking in or near to the water feature and if not, are there monitoring provisions in place?
  • Overall, have you considered strategies which minimise the risk of harm of alcohol in this setting?