By James Atkinson
Liquor sold in Aldi stores is less likely to cause community harm than that of other retailers, the supermarket chain argued, amid a crackdown by the NSW liquor regulator on 14 of its liquor licence applications.
As foreshadowed by TheShout on Wednesday, the NSW Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority (CLGCA) this week refused Aldi's application for a liquor licence in Katoomba, deferred seven of its applications and imposed special conditions on six others.
Aldi's most recent application for a liquor licence – which was lodged just last week and has not yet been considered by the regulator – reveals the retailer's arguments that authorities should give special consideration to its "unique business model".
In documents obtained by TheShout, Aldi's application for a liquor licence in its existing Yass supermarket stresses that it would sell only 100 lines of liquor on the licensed premises, which would be just 34 square metres in size.
"The licensed premises will be small in size, will sell a modest range of liquor, and will trade fewer hours than most traditional retail liquor stores," it said.
"A traditional liquor store adjoining a major supermarket would generally stock in excess of 1,000 lines of liquor."
It said the proposed standard hours of trade of 8.30am to 7pm are "considerably less than those that the majority of traditional liquor stores".
"It is not proposed to sell liquor refrigerated, meaning that it is less likely that persons will purchase liquor for immediate consumption," the company added.
"The grant of a packaged liquor licence for premises of this type, of such a modest scale and with modest trading hours… is unlikely to cause an overall social impact which is detrimental to the well-being of the local or broader communities."
Aldi added that it has an unblemished record of responsible service of alcohol, despite operating 98 liquor departments in Victoria and the ACT since 2003.
The retailer also rejected a submission by the NSW health department that Aldi prices will be substantially lower than those of existing outlets in the Yass marketplace.
"Woolworths Liquor offers liquor at prices considerably less than those quoted by NSW Health," Aldi said.
"Wine was being sold at less than $5.00 per 750 ml bottle with an additional 25 to 30 per cent reduction off the marked price if more than 6 bottles were purchased."
Aldi buying director Jason Bowyer did not respond to a request for comment.