Chief Inspector Guy Haberley sent an email to licensees in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong earlier this week.
He asked them not to sell full strength beer before 2pm, or any drink with an alcohol content higher than 4 per cent on January 26.
The Acting Police Minister, David Campbell, says bottle shops do not have to oblige, but it could help curb alcohol-fuelled violence.
“Our community sadly has seen some problems in recent years,” he said.
“Police are offering some suggestions, they are suggestions only – not changes to the law. They wont be enforced.”
The head of the Australian Hotels Association, Bill Healey, says the request is over the top.
“Police have shown no real evidence to suggest that Australia Day is a major problem,” he said.