By James Atkinson
Aldi's undertakings not to sell refrigerated liquor and to only stock a small number of product lines were not enough to convince the liquor regulator that it should be permitted to sell liquor at one of its NSW supermarkets.
Aldi recently requested that the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority of NSW (ILGA) provide a statement of reasons why it had rejected the retailer's application to sell packaged liquor at its Taree store in northern NSW.
As with its Yass store proposal, Aldi stressed that it planned to sell only 100 lines of liquor at its proposed Taree licensed premises, which would be just 40 square metres in size, and would have shorter trading hours than its competitors.
The retailer also argued that it would not sell liquor refrigerated, reducing the likelihood of it being purchased for immediate consumption.
But in releasing its statement of reasons for rejecting the store, the ILGA last week revealed the extent of police opposition to the proposal.
Police submitted that there were five existing packaged liquor licences located within a short walking distance of Aldi's Taree supermarket, plus three hotels and two registered clubs located in close proximity to the premises that also offer packaged liquor.
Police claimed they had found a direct link between the reported incidents of alcohol-related violence, offensive language and public urination and the consumption of liquor purchased from packaged liquor licensees in the Taree CBD.
"The sale of non-refrigerated alcohol may not necessarily prevent immediate consumption, particularly when the persons responsible for the street drinking and anti-social behaviour in the Taree CBD frequently consume warm cask wine and beer after gathering for several hours in the identified hot spots," Police added.
The area's licensing co-ordinator, Senior Constable Linda Hedley, concluded in the Police submission that the addition of another discount liquor offering in Taree would clearly result in more competitive pricing of alcohol.
"Stocking a smaller 'range' of products, as frequently referred to throughout the Community Impact Statement, will be of no positive consequence," she said.
"Customers, particularly the vulnerable and disadvantaged will have access to greater quantities of alcohol (including bulk buying)."
Authority chairperson Chris Sidoti said he accepted the submissions by police and other objectors that "it was more likely than not that there will be negative impacts upon the local community" if the liquor licence was approved.