Community concern over number of liquor outlets

CONCERNS for a possible over abundance of liquor outlets in Port Macquarie are clear.

It comes as two new packaged liquor licence applications were lodged with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).

The applications by Aldi and Coles owned Liquorland were met with strong opposition from community stakeholders.

Community Impact Statements, which form a mandatory part of the application process featured submissions from local police, health authorities, local business and a 600-signature petition against a Liquorland shop at Lighthouse Beach..

Local Salvation Army Major Brett Gallagher said the addition of two more liquor stores would create further problems for those struggling with alcohol addiction.

“We already have enough bottle shops in Port Macquarie,” Mr Gallagher said. “We don’t have a huge population and it just doesn’t seem necessary.”

Mr Gallagher sees the impact of alcohol abuse first hand.

He said problem drinkers would struggle to fight the temptation of heavily reduced prices.

“Cheaper alcohol just means that they will drink more,” he said. “To compete with the other bottle shops in town they’d be running specials, which is definitely detrimental for someone with an alcohol problem.”

The Birpai Local Aborginal Lands Council also expressed its opposition to yet another liquor store in town.

Uncle Bill O’Brien said people already had more than enough options available to them.

“We’ve got enough alcohol shops within the town limit,” he said. "I don’t think we should be giving people more encouragment to get involved with alcohol.”

Port Macquarie Police Licensing Sergeant John Lawrie said police stood by the concerns raised in their submissions to the ILGA.

Among those were limited resources to deal with alcohol- related problems, an increase in alcohol-related crime in the region and heavily discounted products.

“Studies show a direct correlation between licensed premises density and alcohol-related crime,” Sergeant Lawrie said.

The Community Impact Statements, including the licence applicants’ response for both applications can be viewed at www.ilga.nsw.gov.au

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