A BATTLE to prevent two new bottle shops from opening in Port Macquarie has come to a head, with a final community consultation night set for the start of next month.
Supermarket giant Coles’ associated store Liquorland, and Aldi have both applied for new packaged licences from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).
Liquorland has applied for a licence to establish a new bottle shop at Lighthouse Plaza at 100 Ocean Drive, and Aldi has applied for a licence to supply alcohol at 3 Hughes Place.
Lighthouse Beach Cellars owner Glenn Scott has been at the forefront of a fight to stop the stores from getting the go-ahead.
He said giant liquor chains would be sucking local business dry.
“The application by Liquorland for a new Liquor Store at Lighthouse Beach is not about convenience or service, it is to drive independent liquor stores out of business, for the sole purpose of increasing their market share,” Mr Scott said.
“There will be no economic benefits. If Liquorland is granted a new liquor licence, current employees in established nearby liquor stores will lose their jobs.”
His claims come as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) steps up its investigation of multinational supermarkets Coles and Woolworths for claims of misused market powers.
Currently, there are four Liquorland bottle shops in Port Macquarie.
In a submission to the ILGA Mr Scott raised concerns about the outlets’ ability to discount and subsidise packaged alcohol.
“Liquorland can heavily discount liquor products as it can make up the profit shortfall through grocery products in the adjoining supermarket –making it harder for other local competitors to compete on price,” Mr Scott said.
Independent liquor stores said they had felt the competitive ramifications of Dan Murphy’s when it opened in 2011.
For some, two more liquor stores could be a devastating blow to business.
Some 600 people signed a petition opposing the new Liquorland at Lighthouse Beach. It was presented as part of an extensive eight page submission to the ILGA.
Mr Scott urged people to show their support for local liquor stores by attending the community consultation evening on March 4.
An elected representative will speak on behalf of those against the licences.
Community Impact Statements (CIS) for both bottle shop applications are also available for viewing online on ILGA’s website.
* PEOPLE are encouraged to attend a community consultation evening to discuss the licence applications.
A public meeting about the Liquorland application will be held between 4pm and 5.50pm on Monday, March 4, 2013, at the Glasshouse on the corner of Clarence and Hay Streets.
A second public meeting about the Aldi application will then follow at the same location from 6.10pm until 8pm that evening.
Residents wanting to to attend and/or speak at either or both of the ILGA public meetings must register by 5pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
To register contact Troy Bell on 9995 0355 or at firstname.lastname@example.org