By Andrew Starke

A new Dan Murphy's slated for the Coffs Coast will need to ensure it practices responsible sale of alcohol and puts the interest of the community first, according to Australian Hotels Association (AHA NSW) CEO Sally Fielke.

Fielke said the proliferation of cheap liquor supply outlets was a worrying trend.

“Obviously there are concerns in the community about anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“What alarms us is these big liquor barns off-loading bulk, discount liquor into the community unchecked on a daily basis.”

The new Dan Murphy’s in Coffs Harbour has not yet been built but is already embroiled in controversy despite the fact that it will only open in the middle of 2011.

A spokesman for the Dan Murphy’s parent company Woolworths told The Coffs Coast Advocate that Dan Murphy’s had a track record of responsible sale of alcohol that was ‘second to none’.

However Fielke stressed the need for regulation.

“Hotels in Coffs Harbour work hard to adhere to strict responsible service of alcohol provisions,” she said.

“We encourage the responsible service of alcohol. We work with police and local residents to ensure our venues provide a safe environment for the community.

“People drinking cut price liquor at home simply do not have the same set of checks and balances in place – and of particular concern is the potential for underage drinkers to access liquor barns.

“These new liquor barns have a responsibility to the people of your community and they need checks and balances in place just like hotels.”

Fielke added that Coffs Harbour hoteliers were a vital part of the local community.

“For example, just a few weeks ago we saw the Hoey Moey Hotel hand over a cheque for $3000 to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service – part of the $25 million hotels give back to the people of NSW each and every year,” she said.

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The Shout Team

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