Pictured: Liquor Minister Paul Papalia with Pilbara MP Kevin Michel and local licensee Sharon Guilford

The Banned Drinkers Register trial in the Pilbara region of Western Australia has been set for a rollout in the first quarter of 2020.

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA WA), Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) and Tourism, Liquor and Racing Minister Paul Papalia met with community stakeholders recently for a series of consultative meetings ahead of the rollout.

The meetings revolved around informing stakeholders of the processes in relation to the BDR and clarifying any misconceptions they had about the rollout of the project.

The proposed measures would see scanning technology installed in all takeaway licensed premises that would cross check customer photo identification with the banned drinkers register and if the machine turns red, the customer would be denied the purchase.

Banned drinkers would include drunk drivers and domestic violence abusers, and if they were flagged trying to purchase alcohol their details would be shared with rehabilitation agencies. The goal is to get these people help with overcoming their alcohol issues.

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods commended the State Government and in particular, Minister Papalia, for his support of the targeted measure to reduce alcohol-related harm.

“We congratulate Minister Papalia on his engagement with industry and his willingness to support a trial of the BDR, which follows a 10 year industry led battle to get the initiative up and running,” Woods said.

“With technology rapidly changing how we work, live and interact with each other, the BDR has the potential to be at the frontier of harm minimisation for alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour, particularly in WA’s regional and remote communities.”

LSA WA CEO Peter Peck echoed Woods’ sentiments, also saying that there is no other system currently in place that aims to both identify but also rehabilitate problem drinkers.

“It’s encouraging to see a Minister taking the ‘bull by the horns’, listening to industry and making a decision for the benefit of the entire community. We know that blanket alcohol restrictions don’t work. We know penalising many for the sake of a few bad apples isn’t the way to solve these issues,” he said.

“One of the most significant elements associated with the BDR is the fact that for every person who is placed on the register, by way of a WA Police issued Barring Notice or Prohibition Order, are the series of wrap around health services that will be on offer.

“Right now, there is no other system in place that targets the problem drinker and triggers the treatment services to help rehabilitate and counsel the affected person.”

He said the benefits for the community at large were wide-ranging and the trial would demonstrate in the fullness of time, to effectively manage problem drinking and associated domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.

Both industry associations congratulate the local community and industry stakeholders across the Pilbara for their perseverance in working to ensure the BDR becomes a reality.

The trial is expected to commence with an initial systems test in Port and South Hedland with the rest of the Pilbara to follow soon after.


Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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