By James Atkinson

Coles and Woolworths have emerged relatively unscathed from the NSW crackdown on liquor licence applications by the three major chains.

While 14 of Aldi's applications were affected, the impact on Coles was limited to its licence applications for Liquorland stores in Coffs Harbour, Shellharbour, Umina Beach and West Ryde, which were approved subject to special conditions requiring reduced trading hours or the sale of non-refrigerated products only.

Woolworths' Dan Murphy's store in Wolli Creek was approved subject to the same restrictions, while its BWS Quakers Hill application was deferred to allow conferences to be held with objectors.

The Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority said it will continue to assess the potential social impact of alcohol pricing on a "case by case" basis when considering bottle shop applications, with greater scrutiny of the issue in relation to groups at greater risk of alcohol-related harm.

The Authority deferred bottle shop applications by the three chains late last year following concerns about the potential social impact of heavily discounted alcohol.

After considering submissions from the three chains and reviewing research into the issue, the Authority yesterday announced it had found no conclusive evidence of harm on a general, statewide basis.

It resolved at its meeting on Wednesday to continue to investigate the relationship between alcohol abuse and liquor pricing as the evidence is inconclusive.

"The evidence gathered to date does not clearly establish that current pricing levels lead to increased harm from alcohol," said Authority chairman Chris Sidoti.

"What is obvious now is that a 'one size fits all' approach cannot be adopted and applied to all liquor licensing applications."

“The Authority will consider every application on a case by case basis, paying attention to the potential social impact of alcohol pricing, among other issues," Sidoti said.

The Authority announced it will also request the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing to review its guidelines on undesirable liquor promotion to ensure the pricing of takeaway alcohol is not promoted in "harmful or undesirable" ways.

The Shout Team

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