The Northern Territory Liquor Commission has considered, and rejected, the application by Endeavour Drinks Group to build a Dan Murphy’s store in Darwin.
In its extensive, 103-page report regarding its decision, the Commission said that while it was not opposed to the concept of a Dan Muprhy’s in Darwin, given everything it has to consider as part of an application for a store of this size, it could not approve the application for the store in this particular site.
The report said: “The Commission is of the view, on the evidence presented, that the Applicant has not satisfied us on the balance of probabilities, that the benefits to be derived from the grant of the application outweigh the potential for a significant increase in harm due to the use of liquor, over and above that already occurring within the community areas.
“Accordingly, as outlined at the commencement of this Decision Notice, the Commission has determined in accordance with section 46A(6) of the Act to refuse the application for substitution of the premises in the licence.”
It added: “Having now heard all the evidence and considered the detailed and thoughtful submissions of the Applicant, the Commission wishes to make clear that it is not opposed to the concept of a Dan Murphy’s store in Darwin. However, this is provided that the limitations associated with a substitution application, can be addressed, an appropriate site can be identified and provided that the density impact can be reduced.
“It is most unfortunate that the Applicant did not engage in consulting the local community prior to committing to this site because it would, in our view, have come to the realisation that this was not an appropriate position for any liquor store, let alone one the size of Dan Murphy’s.”
The report did acknowledge some of the potential benefits that the proposed store would bring to the area in terms of economic benefits from the construction and proposed improvements to the intersection adjacent to the store. It added that there is significant support from some sections of the community and that there would be an increase in competition and the benefits that such competition provides to responsible consumers.
However the Commission determined that the community area within two kilometres of the site did stand “to be most adversely impacted were the application to be approved”.
It added: “We find that the harmful consequences of easier access to cheaper alcohol for this community will be significant and greatly outweigh the benefits the store would provide. Having heard the evidence, and from our own experience with life in Darwin, we are left wondering why this site with all its attendant risks was chosen as the place to build the Territory’s largest liquor store?”
Endeavour Drinks’ General Manager Corporate Services, Shane Tremble told TheShout that Dan Murphy’s has been planning the development in Darwin for three to four years and that the proposed store would have had the most rigorous processes in place to ensure appropriate responsible service standards
“We’re disappointed with the decision because it means the NT continues to miss out on new investment, jobs and greater shopping choice for local customers,” Tremble, said.
“We always treat our responsible service obligations very seriously and have a strong track record in this area over many decades in close consultation with local police and community groups.
“We’re carefully reviewing the decision and considering our next steps.”