By James Atkinson
Liquor authorities were not persuaded by Woolworths' arguments in favour of opening a new Dan Murphy's store in Byron Bay, northern New South Wales.
In rejecting the store application, the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) said the broader Byron Bay community is currently exposed to unacceptably high rates of crime and disturbance, much of which is alcohol-related.
ILGA chairman Chris Sidoti rejected Woolworths' argument that the store was unlikely to increase the total volume of liquor consumed across the Byron community.
He said that while "substitution effects" are likely to occur at the expense of existing liquor businesses in the area, the new Dan Murphy's store would be quite large by local standards.
"At around 1093 square metres, the premises will dwarf any of the incumbent stand-alone liquor stores or hotel bottle shops that presently trade in Byron Bay," the ILGA said.
"In fact it will rival the combined floor space of all the other incumbent packaged liquor stores in Byron Bay."
The authority said it accepted submissions by residents that Byron Bay is "a town in which people may be observed walking the streets with a 'slab' of beer on each shoulder, or pushing overflowing shopping trolleys of liquor down the street to their holiday accommodation".
Woolworths has not yet indicated its next move following the ruling.