Woolworths Group released a statement this morning that after more than five years of negotiation, Dan Murphy’s Darwin will not be proceeding.
However, the project is not off the table, said Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci on Thursday’s quarterly financial announcement conference call. He was circumspect, suggesting this is an opportunity for the group “to pause, engage, reflect, learn, adjust and then go forward”. He said that there is strong support from consumers for a Dan Murphy’s retailer in the Northern Territory but that the business will need to move ahead in the process in a “more responsible, thoughtful and engaged manner.”
This task will fall to Steve Donohue and the Endeavour Drinks to reflect and consider what they want and what the community wants. He suggested that the groups as a whole is interested in “creating a more responsible drinking culture in future”.
In December, Woolworths Group commissioned an independent, chaired by Danny Gilbert AM, to review the development and on Wednesday, the panel following consultation with stakeholders, made the recommendation that the project be put aside. The Board and management have accepted this recommendation.
In its statement, Woolworths Group Chairman, Gordon Cairns said: “The Gilbert Review made it clear that we had not done enough in this community to live up to best practice engagement to which we hold ourselves accountable. In particular, we did not do enough stakeholder engagement with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.”
Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci added: “The insights and recommendations within the Gilbert Review will serve to strengthen Woolworths Group and Endeavour Group’s future stakeholder engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Woolworths’ response to the Gilbert Review will be made available by mid-June.