Woolworths praises NT govt for Banned Drinker Register return
By James Wells
The Woolworths-owned Endeavour Drinks Group has praised the Northern Territory Labor government over the decision to re-introduce the Banned Drinker Register.
It has been a rocky relationship recently between Endeavour Drinks Group and the Northern Territory Government, with an ongoing stoush regarding the effective banning of Dan Murphy’s stores based on a restriction placed on packaged liquor outlets to a maximum of 400 squares metres.
Earlier this year, the Northern Territory Government confirmed that 1000 will be automatically forced on to the Banned Drinker Register when it starts on 1 September, and that up to 2500 will be on the register by Christmas – the same number that was on the register before it was scrapped in 2012 when the CLP Government was elected.
The previous version, introduced by Labor when it was last in government, required packaged liquor stores to check customers’ ID cards at the point of sale. At the time, the changes were regarded as some of the toughest alcohol reforms in the country.
During the recent NT election, Labor promised to cancel the CLP’s alcohol rehabilitation scheme and use the funds to reintroduce the BDR.
Endeavour Drinks Group general manager for corporate services, Shane Tremble, issued a statement regarding the reintroduction of the BDR, claiming it is welcomed as an initiative to reduce alcohol-related harms in the Territory.
“We are supportive of any measures that specifically target the perpetrators of violence and anti-social behaviour and do not disadvantage the majority of Territorians who drink responsibly. It will be essential that the system works robustly and efficiently so as not to inconvenience the majority of our customers.
"Alcohol should never be an excuse for violence or anti-social behaviour, there is no excuse, so it is pleasing to see a significant broadening in the scope of offences under which a person can be placed on the BDR,” he said.
"The Northern Territory community, including our BWS team members are sometimes exposed to behaviour that shouldn't be accepted. The BDR in its last incarnation was effective in keeping the worst offenders away from licensed premises. The greater emphasis on referral treatment and support is a welcome enhancement to the scheme.
"We have expressed some concern over the recycling of the old system hardware which is now pushing past seven years of effective life, and we have offered to work with Licensing NT to trial the system in our stores to ensure its reliability before go-live in September" Mr Tremble said.
"Past experience shows us that additional seconds in processing every sale can lead to significant delays and customer angst. The previous system also had difficulty recognising some forms of ID. Acceptance of the BDR, therefore, will rest on the speed and efficiency of the system and how well the Government and industry communicates these changes to Territory residents and visitors.