By Andy Young

The Liquor Stores Association of New South Wales (LSA NSW) has elected Paul Heilman, Director of the Top Cellars Group, as its new President.

Paul Heilman pictured with Ami Sheehan from Pernod Ricard

Heilman is the Association’s 11th President and was elected at Tuesday’s Annual General Meeting. He takes over from David Reberger who has stepped down after serving on the LSA NSW board since 2009 and as President since 2012.

Reberger said: “It has been an honour to have served as President of the LSA since 2012. I wish to thank the Australian Liquor Stores Association Board, LSA Executive Director Michael Waters and staff and the LSA Board for their support over this period. 

"It is pleasing that LSA's independent retailer membership is at a record high. I attribute this to the fact that in the last five years LSA has been effectively representing its retailer members on regulatory issues with Government and has continued to expand its range of valuable services to members.”

After purchasing his first store in his hometown of Cowra in 2005, Heilman joined the LSA soon after and then became a board member in 2010. He was soon elected as Vice President – Independent Retailer (Country), a position he maintained while he grew his business, opening a further five Sydney stores, while still keeping his original Cowra store.

Heilman said: “I thank David for his stewardship of the Association over the past five years. The Association is well positioned as it moves into 2017 and beyond, with a strong membership, management team and committee, and I look forward to continuing to build on LSA’s engagement with all stakeholders – retailers, suppliers and regulators.”

Also elected into new positions were John Wilson, James Scott-McKenzie and Peter Wheatley, who were elected as Vice President – Independent Retailer (Country), Vice President – Chain Retailer and Treasurer respectively.

The AGM also saw LSA NSW Executive Director Michael Waters deliver the Association’s Annual Report, highlighting a good performance and delivery on a number of objectives, but he said there is still more work to be done.

“As most around the traps will agree, the industry is undergoing significant transformation, and in what can only be described as a challenging and uncertain period, LSA’s financial result for the year remained solid and stable," Waters said.

“We ramped up our engagement with members and stakeholders, which contributed to solid growth in both Independent Retailer (+15 per cent) and Associate (+25 per cent) membership, demonstrating our relevance and currency but we will continue to work harder to represent the needs and interests of the retail liquor industry.

“In the regulatory environment, LSA has been extremely proactive this past year with several key projects, and there is no doubting that given our limited resources we have again punched well above our weight.

“By far the most satisfying achievement was winning back Boxing Day trading for all liquor stores – something that the LSA has waited seven long years to resolve.

“The second half of the year was consumed by the ACT liquor licence fee challenge, which has thankfully been resolved, and a compromise reached with the ACT Chief Minister, which amongst other things guarantees a four year freeze on any further licence fee increases.

“The State-wide 10pm sales restriction, which commenced in early 2014 has been another slow burn, but we are hearing positive murmurs from the Minister’s office following the Callinan Review so remain hopeful that common sense will soon prevail," Waters added.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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