Western Australia’s liquor and hospitality industry has welcomed the state’s Cabinet reshuffle that will see Minister Paul Papalia return to the Racing and Gaming portfolio.

Minister Papalia previously held the Racing and Gaming portfolio from 2017 to 2021 where he drove important reforms including the development of the Banned Drinkers Register. He will add Racing and Gaming to his existing responsibilities, which include Police; Corrective Services; Defence Industry and Veterans Issues.

The Liquor Stores Association of WA (LSA WA) CEO Peter Peck says the ministerial changes will enable the positive engagement and dialogue between the Cook government and the packaged liquor industry to continue.

“We welcome Minister Paul Papalia back to the Racing and Gaming portfolio, especially as he was the ‘architect’ of the Banned Drinkers Register,” says Peck.

“Minister Papalia has always been cognisant of the complexities and challenges associated with the takeaway liquor industry in jurisdictions where issues around alcohol, police resourcing and community safety collide.

“We are confident Mr Papalia strikes the balance when addressing community harm where it may be attributed to alcohol.”

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA WA) echoes this sentiment, with CEO Bradley Woods saying the relatively modest reshuffle would provide certainty and continuity to WA’s hotel and hospitality industry.

“We welcome Minister Paul Papalia back to the Racing and Gaming portfolio and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively, as we have done in the past,” Woods said.

“Minister Papalia has an excellent understanding of the challenges and concerns faced by WA’s hotel and hospitality industry, with a history of providing strong leadership on key initiatives such as the Banned Drinkers Register.”

Michael Waters, CEO, Retail Drinks Australia has also extended congratulations to Minister Papalia on his reappointment as Minister for Racing and Gaming.

“We look forward to once again working with Minister Papalia to deliver positive policy outcomes for the state’s retail liquor industry, having previously worked together during his previous tenure with the portfolio,” says Waters.

These industry bodies all thanked Minister Reece Whitby, who held the Racing and Gaming portfolio since March 2021.

Minister Whitby will now add Energy to his Environment and Climate Action portfolios, allowing him to spearhead WA’s energy transition and drive the State’s future as a clean energy powerhouse.

The LSA’s Peck said Minister Whitby and his staff always facilitated and accommodated the LSA’s concerns and issues around liquor reform and regulation and is confident that level of collaboration will continue with Minister Papalia and his ministerial team.

“I would also like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Minister Reece Whitby and his team for their effort and collaboration within the Racing and Gaming portfolio,” says Peck.

AHA’s Woods also thanked Minister Whitby who he says has done outstanding work in the Racing and Gaming portfolio since he took it on in 2021.

“Minister Whitby and his staff have always strived to work closely with the AHA on a range of critical issues, which has been to the benefit of WA’s hotels and hospitality venues,” says Woods.

“For more than a year, Minister Whitby has spearheaded the review of WA’s liquor laws, and we are confident this cooperative approach will continue under Minister Papalia’s leadership.”

Retail Drinks CEO Waters said: “I would also like to thank outgoing Minister, Reece Whitby, for his contribution to the liquor portfolio and close collaboration with industry.

“We look forward to continuing Retail Drinks’ positive and productive work on liquor policy issues with the Cook Government, including upcoming reforms to the State’s Liquor Act and Regulations.”

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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