By James Wells

Endeavour Drinks Group has openly criticised the decision by the Northern Territory government to proceed with legislation to restrict the size of a packaged liquor store to 400 square metres, effectively blocking Dan Murphy’s from opening stores.

“The decision by the Northern Territory Government to legislate an effective ban on any store offering a wide range of beers, wines and spirits reaffirms the impression that the Territory remains closed for business investment and job creation,” Endeavour Drinks Group General Manager of Corporate Services, Shane Tremble, told TheShout.

“Legislating a 400 square metre browsing area restriction on packaged liquor stores demonstrates a disregard for​ ​​the matters currently being examined by the Federal Court, and which are specifically included in the terms of reference of the current inquiry into the NT Liquor Act. 

​“If the government chooses to push this measure through parliament they are effectively pre-empting the outcome of an inquiry that they themselves initiated. They are also sending a message to the NT public that their views will be ignored.

“The government has already admitted that there was no formal review or investigation undertaken before this change, now they are saying that they will legislate to ensure that the amendment goes into the Act without examining any evidence which may contradict their position.

“W​e​ will consider this unprecedented step and carefully review all options,” Tremble concluded.

Woolworths, the parent company of Endeavour Drinks Group and Dan Murphy’s, has taken the Northern Territory government, led by Labor Chief Minister Michael Gunner, to the Federal Court over what has been reported as a “secret anti-competitive backroom deal” that the then opposition struck with the Australian Hotels Association prior to winning last year’s Northern Territory election.

Northern Territory press reports claim that court records defending the government show that there was no review, inquiry or any form of investigation that concluded that imposing the restriction of floorspace was required.

It has also been reported that at any time, particularly during the election, was this policy outlined or announced by the Chief Minister or any Labor representative.

The head of the Liquor Stores Association of the Northern Territory, Faye Hartley was contacted but declined to comment.

The Shout Team

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  1. For years suppliers have had to adhere to NT liquor regulations, many they didn’t agree with this but that was the law. Welcome Woolworths to not getting it all your way all of the time.

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