The WA Government’s decision to progress with a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) trial in the Pilbara has been welcomed by Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSAWA), the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and Retail Drinks Australia.
The BDR will ensure people on the register will not be able to purchase takeaway liquor anywhere in the Pilbara.
The initiative is the result of collaboration between State Government and the Pilbara liquor industry.
The program is designed to target problem drinkers. Once the system is implemented, everyone who purchases takeaway liquor will be required to produce a scannable and accepted form of identification.
Any person who does not have existing valid identification will be assisted to attain it prior to the trial’s commencement.
The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) is administering the trial, and released a detailed tender request to market last week, which outlines the system’s requirements. Potential vendors have four weeks to respond.
The tender request also includes functionality to support Takeaway Alcohol Management System (TAMS). The TAMS functionality may be used to support existing liquor restrictions outside of the Pilbara.
To allow for the evaluation of Pilbara BDR trial, the TAMS functionality will not be used in conjunction with the BDR trial.
In anticipation of the commencement of the BDR trial, DLGSC will shortly facilitate a number of workshops for licensees and other stakeholders throughout the region. A range of communication and information materials for licensees, stakeholders, support service providers and the broader public will also be developed.
The trial of the BDR in the Pilbara will commence as soon as possible following the tender process and will run for two years.
“The tender release represents a significant milestone in the McGowan Government’s work to address alcohol-related harm in the region,” said Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia.
“The banned drinkers register is an important initiative to improve social and health outcomes for people in the Pilbara. It is designed to target problem drinkers by preventing them from purchasing takeaway liquor.
“The initiative aims to specifically target people with alcohol problems, providing an alternative approach to blanket restrictions which would impact the entire community.
“The trial will run for two years and will be evaluated by The University of Western Australia.
“I would like to thank Australian Hotels Association (WA) and the Liquor Stores Association of WA for their collaborative work progressing this important program.”
AHA(WA) CEO Bradley Woods said: “Our surveys have shown that a BDR has the overwhelming support of the community.
“It is a targeted approach that does not penalise law-abiding citizens by preventing them from purchasing a legal product, as is the case with blanket liquor restrictions,” Woods said.
“We are particularly heartened by Minister Paul Papalia’s statement that the inclusion of functionality to support a takeaway alcohol management system (TAMS) in the tender process will only be used to support existing liquor restrictions outside of the Pilbara.”
LSAWA CEO Peter Peck said the University of Western Australia (UWA) will be engaged to conduct an independent evaluation of the banned drinkers register trial, which will inform the wider roll-out of the scheme.
“With the WA Government managing the trial it will ensure that the results produced by UWA can’t be dismissed by accusations of a third party influencing the outcome,” Peck said.
“A successful BDR has the potential to be one of the biggest game changers towards harm minimisation in the state.”
Peck said the tangible benefits associated with the BDR would have a significant, and positive impact on many Pilbara communities.
“Ultimately the biggest winners from a successful BDR trial will be the people of the Pilbara. The challenge for all of us is to ensure we sail from a sea of despair to hope on the horizon,” Mr Peck added.
Retail Drinks Australia CEO Julie Ryan added: “Retail Drinks Australia and its members are pleased to be working with the McGowan Government on the two-year trial of a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) in the Pilbara, and are looking forward to collaborating with the AHA (WA) and LSAWA to ensure all licensees in Western Australia are supported through the trial.
“Retail Drinks’ members have highly relevant experience with working with Banned Drinkers Registers through the existing regulated framework in the Northern Territory, and their practical understanding of not only the system requirements but also how to best support licensees in their understanding and management of the sensitive issues in administering a BDR will undoubtedly be valuable in assisting the Department of Local Government, Sport and Multicultural Industries.”