The Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) has announce it is suspending its legal action over bottleshop sizes against the Northern Territory Government.

EDG has lodged a notice of discontinuance in the legal proceedings while the NT Government conducts a review of its Liquor Act. The company said the move has followed “the Gunner Government’s decision to rush through Legislation to replace the contested Regulation the day after it received a timetable to enable discovery orders against the Government and the Australian Hotels Association.”

Shane Tremble, Endeavour Drinks Group General Manager Corporate Services, said: “We feel we have let down the people of Darwin who overwhelmingly wanted us to proceed and win this case, but the pragmatic decision is to await the Government response to recommendations from the Liquor Act review before considering our options.”

The legal action by EDG sought to challenge the NT Government’s ruling on restricting the size of liquor stores in the territory.

EDG had submitted plans to build an 1800-square metre store as part of a new $40m commercial development close to Darwin Airport. However the Territory’s Government introduced a law in December last year that limited the floor size of bottleshops to 400-square metres.

Tremble said that EDG was discontinuing the legal action, after the NT Government made its move to change the ruling.

“Our initial view that the Regulation was invalid was largely confirmed after the Government decided to rush through Legislation to replace the Regulation after it received the timetable for discovery. Their actions effectively voided our legal challenge against the Regulation,” he said.

“Although the Legislation and Regulation have the same effect, a totally new and different legal case would need to be mounted to challenge the making of the Legislation, which would then be subject to further uncertainty while we awaited the outcome of the Liquor Act review and the Government’s response.

“On behalf of the many Territorians who have voiced support for our campaign to bring Dan’s to Darwin, we are extremely disappointed not to have been afforded the opportunity to contest the validity of the Regulation due to these actions by the Gunner Government.”

Tremble added that he was still hopeful that EDG will be able to open a Dan Murphy’s in Darwin.

“We would still hope to be able to bring a Dan’s to Darwin and have genuine concerns about the validity of the Legislation. We will consider our options, including potential further legal avenues, after the Government provides its response to Justice Riley’s Liquor Act review.

“In our submission to the Liquor Act Review, we provided credible and verifiable evidence that the entry of a Dan Murphy’s into a community did not negatively alter rates of alcohol related harm or violence. We had also committed this store to having the highest level of harm minimisation measures in the nation.

“The government needs to balance their genuine efforts to reduce alcohol related harm with the legitimate desires of Territorians for access to the same standard of retail offer available in all other parts of the country. The recommendations and the Government’s response should be guided by a balanced review of all the available evidence and the clear wishes of the community,” Tremble said.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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