After a three-year battle to open its first Northern Territory store, Dan Murphy’s application is finally in the hands of the NT Liquor Commission.
The liquor giant’s application was delivered to the commission last Friday by the NT’s Director-General of Licensing.
But the fight is far from over.
Endeavour Drinks Group’s Shane Tremble told ABC News: “It’s a complex application, [the commission have] never determined anything like that before, we’ve never run an application like this up there before, it’s bound to take some time.
“As frustrated as I am with stuff that’s happened previously, that’s no criticism of the commission.
“They’ve only been in existence for 12 months and the information has apparently just dropped in their laps in the last little while.”
A spokesperson for the Attorney-General’s Department said the Liquor Commission process would include “time for public objection and for the applicant to respond to any objections”, and noted “this material is in the final stages of being collated”.
The application involves Dan Murphy’s transferring Endeavour Group’s BWS Stuart Park licence to a Dan Murphy’s in Eaton, on a vacant block of land. Its fate will be determined at a public hearing before the Commission, at a future date that’s yet to be set.
Continuing roadblocks for Dan’s in Darwin
Endeavour first considered becoming part of the Darwin Airport Central development in 2015, but the plans were put on hold when the NT government introduced legislation that limited the floor size of bottle shops to 400sqm.
The move meant Dan Murphy’s was unable to obtain a development permit. Endeavour Drinks Group commenced legal action to have the floor size restriction quashed, but later withdrew it.
Allegations were later raised in NT parliament that the Gunner Government’s liquor floor space legislation was introduced at the request of the Australian Hotels Association to keep competition out of the market.
A review by former chief justice Trevor Riley recommended changes to the Northern Territory’s alcohol policies, including scrapping the floor-size restrictions, capping the number of take away liquor outlets and setting a floor price for alcohol.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner conceded that he made an error in pushing for the 400-square-metre rule, which had been dubbed the “Dan Ban”.
“I got that one wrong going into the election and it has been good to see that Trevor [Riley] has come forward with this report with a much more considered, better way of dealing with density and sales of take-away outlets,” Gunner said.
Tremble told NT News in July that the application “would not have been possible” without the decision by the Gunner Government to repeal its legislation limiting the floor space of bottlos to 400 sqm.
“We have full confidence in the Government’s vision for Darwin to be the ‘great capital’ of Northern Australia, and want to build a store that reflects positively on that vision and is a source of local pride worthy of showcasing to international tourists and interstate visitors,” Tremble said.
“We know that our application to bring a Dan Murphy’s to Darwin is overwhelmingly supported by the local community through both our own survey work and that conducted by an NT News poll which found over 84% of respondents were supportive.”