By James Atkinson

Liquor wholesaler D'Aquino's has failed in a bid to open a retail outlet in the backyard of fellow NILWA member, GH Cole & Son.

Dubbo-based GH Cole & Son objected in the strongest possible terms to D'Aquino's application to open a store in the Cobra St, Dubbo premises that previously accommodated a Liquorland.

GH Cole managing director Fred Griffiths wrote to the NSW liquor regulator claiming D'Aquino's was "not fit to hold liquor licences" by reason that in 2007 D'Aquino's was convicted in the Supreme Court of NSW for the manufacture and sale of "fake Scotch whisky" and fined $110,000.00.

Griffiths further claimed that in 1999 D'Aquino's was convicted in the Supreme Court of NSW and fined $232,850 for aiding and abetting the smuggling of alcohol into Australia. 

The GH Cole boss also contended that D'Aquino's Liquor in Wellington (a town close to Dubbo) regularly sold Victoria Bitter stubbies at prices as low as $29.00 per carton, which he said was deliberately targeting indigenous customers.

Griffiths said D'Aquino's should be rejected for the same reasons as Aldi was in Taree – because it would sell liquor at "very competitive prices" in Dubbo, which has a large local Aboriginal community of 10,000 people.

Too many bottleshops in Dubbo: ILGA

The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) this week rejected D'Aquino's application, which also received opposing submissions from various other local stakeholders.

ILGA chief executive David Greenhouse said the Authority "notes with interest" the submissions made regarding D'Aquino's prior convictions, but the decision turned instead on the overall social impact posed by granting the liquor licence.

He said Wesfarmers subsidiary Coles was currently seeking a suitable site to open a new liquor store in Dubbo, following the closure of its Liquorland store on the Cobra St premises that D'Aquino's was seeking to occupy.

"This is not an instance whereby a proposed new business will subsume the operation of a previous licensee. Granting the application will increase the number of packaged liquor licences that are available to operate within the local and broader community," Greenhouse said.

"The Authority is not satisfied… that the overall social impact of granting a packaged liquor licence would not be detrimental to the well-being of the local community," he said.

D'Aquino's boss Rex D'Aquino did not respond to a request for comment. 

GH Cole & Son managing director Fred Griffiths declined to comment.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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