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Independent Qld stores want to sell booze

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Darren Cartwright

A push by Queensland's independent supermarkets to sell alcohol will benefit the economy, tourism and create jobs, according to the peak industry body.

Master Grocers Australia chief executive Jos de Bruin says it's time for the state Labor government to acknowledge the benefit of allowing independent grocery stores to sell alcohol.

Mr de Bruin believes supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths had "gamed", or played, the system by buying hotels and then using their licences to set up bottle shops outside the front door of their own supermarkets.

To even out the playing field and to ensure the profits are not siphoned back to an interstate head office, independent grocers should be allowed to sell alcohol, he argues.

"This will create more jobs and productivity," Mr de Bruin told AAP. "Right now all profits associated with groceries and liquor are leaving the state and going to a national office.

"It will help local independent supermarkets to be more viable, more robust and employ more people."

Independent supermarkets in Victoria, NSW and the ACT are all permitted to sell alcohol.

Mr de Bruin has long been on a crusade to get the Queensland government to widen the state's alcohol trading regulations.

He previously met with former attorneys-general Jarrod Bleijie (LNP) and Paul Lucas (Labor) but has failed in attempts to speak with Yvette D'Ath since Labor regained power last year.

"My understanding is the attorney-general (Ms D'Ath) is not for having a discussion about packaged liquor for supermarkets," he said.

He said not all independent retailers want to sell alcohol, but given the Palaszczuk government is allowing major retailers to open longer - from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, starting in December - there needs to be a concession for them.

"That's nine-and-a-half hours of independent retailers have lost to the chains ... it will have an impact," he said.

Ms D'Ath said the government was reviewing trading hours but any decision would be balanced by Labor's commitment to stem alcohol-fuelled violence.

"We did make a decision, as part of the tackling alcohol-fuelled violence initiative, to reduce the hours that liquor could be sold from venues," she told reporters.

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