Banned Drinkers Register to trial in the Kimberley after launch in Pilbara

January 6, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The Kimberley is the next Western Australian region set to trial the McGowan Government’s $1 million Banned Drinkers Register (BDR). The first BDR trial was introduced to the Pilbara in December and came into full effect on Monday, 4 January. Both trials will run for two years.

The register in the Kimberley will commence this May and the region’s four local governments have contributed to the financing of the trial.

The BDR aims to address alcohol-related harm by targeting problem drinkers and restricting their access to takeaway alcohol.

Making the announcement, Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said:

“The McGowan Government continues to work with local governments, police, industry and the community to reduce alcohol-related harm in the Kimberley, and this is a proactive move to address alcohol abuse and antisocial behaviour in the Kimberley community.

“The BDR concept specifically targets people with alcohol problems, rather than blanket restrictions which impact upon the entire community.

“The TAMS component provides an effective tool for people to responsibly consume alcohol and to reduce alcohol-related harm.”

 The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) WA has commended the McGowan Government for the announced $1 million Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) trial in the Kimberley region, which is scheduled to commence in May. 

Australian Hotels Association (Western Australia) CEO Bradley Woods endorsed the move by the government and said the targeted measure is another step towards addressing problem drinking in Western Australia. 

“The AHA has advocated for a BDR for over a decade – the announcement of a trial in the Kimberley builds on the trial already underway in the Pilbara and signals an important move away from the imposition of blanket restrictions, which have proved ineffective,” Mr Woods said. 

“Preventing the purchase alcohol from those who have demonstrated an inability to drink responsibly is far more preferable and effective than preventing all law-abiding community members from buying a legal product.” 

Western Australian company Scantek will provide technology that will scan an ID and display a green light if the sale can proceed or a red light if the individual is a registered banned drinker and cannot legally be sold takeaway alcohol.

The scanner will also include the Takeaway Alcohol Management System, which allows customers to responsibly purchase alcohol according to a daily volume limit for their area.

Personal information on the BDR will remain confidential and no records will be kept by licensees about the purchaser, their purchases or if they have been refused service.

People who would like to voluntarily remove their access to takeaway alcohol can elect to be placed on the BDR.

Those identified as banned drinkers will be directed to appropriate community services to provide access to relevant support programs and initiatives.

The Endeavour Group operates 3 BWS stores in the both the Pilbara and Kimberley regions and has welcomed the move.

“We believe that a Banned Drinkers Register is an effective, targeted solution to addressing alcohol related harm in the community…Our experience of operating a BDR in the Northern Territory over the last few years shows that it can be effectively managed by retailers, with minimal impact on those responsible consumers looking to purchase their favourite drop” said BWS West Australia State Manager Shawn Holloway.

Endeavour Group and BWS also welcome the introduction of a TAMS system to the Kimberley region.

“We also wish to thank members of the Kimberley Accords for their work to facilitate the introduction of these measures. Effective solutions to address alcohol related harm are much more likely to come from the stakeholders living and working in the community.” 

“As licensees, we all have a responsibility to listen to these concerns and work collaboratively on developing meaningful solutions.”

The trials will be evaluated by The University of Western Australia’s Public Policy Institute.

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