By James Atkinson
Aldi's bid to sell liquor at one of its supermarkets in a disadvantaged area of Sydney has been rejected by the New South Wales liquor regulator.
The liquor licence application for Aldi's Macquarie Fields store was opposed by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), which said the area suffered from social issues including domestic violence, juvenile crime and child neglect, which could be exacerbated by alcohol.
FACS said the added convenience of an Aldi liquor licence may increase the overall amount of alcohol purchased in the area.
Aldi argued that this was most unlikely as Macquarie Fields had a "mature market" for retail alcohol sales, given the presence of two existing liquor stores: BWS Liquor and Glenquarie Liquor.
Aldi also rejected the suggestion by FACS that retail liquor would be more visible to young people in its supermarket.
"It is commonplace for supermarkets to have liquor departments and there are many examples of 'de-walled' Liquorland, Woolworths and IGA stores attached to supermarkets across New South Wales," the retailer argued.
But Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) chief executive David Greenhouse last month said it was clear enough that if Aldi was allowed to sell liquor, it would contribute to the "relatively serious prevailing problems of alcohol-related domestic violence and child neglect" in Macquarie Fields.
"In the Authority's experience it is uncommon for FACS to intervene in a liquor application," Greenhouse said, dismissing Aldi's application.
"FACS are concerned that increasing shopper convenience by means of a liquor outlet within a grocery store in this location, will, in the context of this disadvantaged local community, lead to substitution effects at the point at which groceries are purchased – given that this is the historic experience of FACS with disadvantaged communities."