Woolworths is fighting a controversial tribunal decision that prevents it opening a Dan Murphy’s Darwin liquor store.
The retailer was planning to transfer the liquor licence from a former BWS outlet to a planned Dan Murphy’s store at a new shopping complex near Darwin Airport.
The NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled in December that it was against NT law to transfer liquor licences from existing outlets to ones that haven’t been built yet.
There is a moratorium on new liquor licences in NT, but the Government allows licences to be transferred between premises.
However, if the NTCAT ruling isn’t overturned it will mean no new bottle shops can be built while the moratorium stands.
On Monday, Woolworths’ lawyer Alastair Wyvill SC told the Supreme Court leave would be sought to appeal the NTCAT decision on the “single question” of whether it applied the law correctly to the Darwin liquor store proposal.
Wyvill said the matter was “a one issue case”, which if Woolworths’ submissions were accepted would be “fatal” to the earlier decision.
On December 22, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he would seek to adjust the legislation next month to allow a Dan Murphy’s Darwin liquor store to open.
“I strongly support responsible drinkers having more choice and this decision by NTCAT is a massive kick in the guts to Territorians,” he said.
“This decision is technical, impractical and we will fix the legislation in February to allow for Dan Murphy’s to operate in Darwin.”
Woolworths has been involved in a four-year battle to open its first Northern Territory Dan Murphy’s.