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National alcohol agency ‘horrified’ detonates opening of liquor store on NSW central coast

By on December 18, 2021 0

A new liquor superstore will soon open in one of the most deprived areas of the central NSW coast, despite authorities admitting it could exacerbate existing alcohol problems in the community.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) approved Dan Murphy’s department store in Lake Haven in February while acknowledging that the store may also contribute “to an increase in alcohol-related crime, health and other social problems “.

The decision concerns the license limit of an existing BWS store to be converted into a Dan Murphy’s, almost double the size.

The site is located in a community hub near Gorokan High School, a youth center, library, skate park, cinema, Headspace and Centrelink. It is also in an area designated alcohol-free by the council.

The new store will line a community hub in the Lake Haven shopping district. (ABC News: Mary-Louise Vince)

The extent of the evidence and opposition to development are revealed in a 22-page document, which details ILGA’s decision.

The document was released to the public four months after approval.

Submissions against the new look store came from NSW Police, Central Coast Public Health Department, Central Coast Council, Central Coast Youth Mental Health Department, Alcohol and Gaming Compliance, d ‘a leading drug rehabilitation center, as well as residents.

In cases like this, Dr Crozier argues that “a disproportionate favor is given to applicants” compared to the community.

Head of Dr John Crozier, National Alliance for Action Against Alcohol (NAAA), 2021
John Crozier believes the favor is given to applicants seeking approval from liquor outlets. (Provided: John Crozier)

“The hard-boiled alcohol industry crushes… those who are least able to voice their concerns,” he said.

The main ILGA findings also acknowledged disturbing statistics on the central coast and its northern suburb of Lake Haven.

According to crime data, the region has “hot spots” for alcohol-related assaults and alcohol-related domestic assaults.

Glenn Collis, senior addiction and alcohol advisor at the Glen Center, said he knows firsthand what addiction can do to communities.

“Nothing good can come of this,” he said.

Drug and alcohol counselor Glenn Collis sitting with two anonymous customers is strongly opposed to the new Lake Haven store.
Glenn Collis says the approval of a Dan Murphy’s department store in Lake Haven is “very disheartening.”(ABC News: Mary-Louise Vince)

Authority sticks to the decision

ILGA said the proposal had undergone a thorough evaluation process and was “ultimately convinced that the overall social impact would not be detrimental to the well-being of local communities and wider “.

The authority added that this “would not result in an increase in the density of liquor licenses in Lake Haven” because it was based on expanding an existing store rather than opening a new one.

Endeavor Group, which is behind Dan Murphy’s chain, said “44 hours of trading per week would be discontinued” and that the current drive-thru facility would also close.

The company defended its reputation, saying the current BWS operation has a “history of flawless responsible service” and is committed to ensuring that this continues with the new store.

Redesign of the approval process

But the National Alliance for Action Against Alcohol remains scathing about the alcohol outlet approval process and says change is needed.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to go through a process that is clearly opaque and weighted in favor of the claimant,” said Dr. Crozier.

Dr Crozier argues that communities need to be better informed about new requests and submissions, while detailed reasons for decisions should be made public more quickly.

ILGA said it supports transparency.

A spokesperson said he had called for the provision of “more accessible information” and also “called for changes in legislation to improve harm minimization.”

Mr Collis admitted there was no looking back on the new store, but said the situation made him “really sad, disappointed and angry”.

“Sit in a group and hear a grown man cry when he’s broken and tried to hang himself, or his family has left him forever and there’s no way to get back. back.

“I’m telling you what, it all starts with alcohol.”