Government set to audit venues over glass measures

Drink measures are set to be audited by the government with licenced venues facing potential fines of up to $210,000 for underpouring drinks.

The National Measurement Institute will audit a range of businesses as part of the scheme.

It will be measuring not against official standard drink sizes, as there are none, but against the measurements that pubs, bars and hotels say they are serving.

There are no official measurements for a schooner, pot or any other size of alcoholic beverage – they are different in and between each state.

Under Australia’s trade measurement laws beer, stout and ale must be sold by reference to volume and that volume must be accurate.

Standard batch approved glassware, such as middies and schooners, are supposed to have the volume marked on the bottom or the side of the glass. Batch-tested glasses or jugs have been verified by an inspector.

Where licensed premises do not use approved glassware, they are required to indicate the volume in some other way – for example, on signage, in a menu, or on the receipt.

As part of the NMI’s investigations it will visit 10,000 businesses and inspect 70,000 lines of packaged goods as well as undertaking secret shopper trial purchases.

Infringement notices can cost $1,050 per offence, but if the case is serious enough to warrant prosecution maximum fines of $210,000 can be handed down.

First time offenders who have committed a low level infringement will be slapped with a non-compliance notice and a follow up visit by inspectors.

Where an infringement notice or non-compliance measures haven’t worked, the NMI can pass the complaint on for injunction or prosecution proceedings.

In a press release, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the move was to ensure retailers were held to account.

“The NMI and its audits play an important role in maintaining a level playing field so consumers can shop with confidence,” she said.

“We recognise that most businesses want to do the right thing and will usually quickly correct any errors, but where we find severe or persistent offenders we can impose fines or initiate prosecutions.”

While Australia may not have actual measurements, other countries have very exact measurements. In the US, a pint is 473ml (16 ounces) while in the UK a pint is 568mls (20 imperial ounces).

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