Fears about alcohol-related harm have resulted in ALDI being denied a liquor licence in Gunnedah.
It was ALDI’s second attempt to obtain a liquor licence for the store. The application was first denied by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), so ALDI applied for an administrative review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The tribunal concluded that the potential harm to the community outweighed the benefits.
“Gunnedah and Gunnedah local government areas are areas where the population is more disadvantaged than average in the state and … they have a high Indigenous population,” the tribunal said in its report.
“The harm which is likely to flow from ALDI selling packaged liquor … while statistically small, nonetheless has the potential to be very real as it affects the community whether by means of the one-off increase in hospital admissions, an increase in alcohol-related crashes or an increase in domestic violence.
“Those impacts represent a real harm to the broader and local community: one which already has too much alcohol-related violence and too many alcohol-related crashes.”
According to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) data, Gunnedah has an alcohol-related domestic violence assault incident rate 1.5 times the state average, and has an alcohol-related crash casualty rate more than double the 4.3% state average at 9.1%.
Gunnedah police supported refusing the application, stating: “The number of packaged liquor outlets exceed the need of the Gunnedah community by population numbers and would be sufficient for years to come, even with continued steady growth of Gunnedah.
“The crime statistics for the Gunnedah area indicate an elevated alcohol-related crime rate with a large portion of consumption taking place in a home/private residence.
“An additional packaged liquor outlet would only increase consumption by persons in the home/private residence and subsequently … increase the risk of additional alcohol-related harms to the Gunnedah community.”