Woolworths has appealed the decision by the NT Liquor Commission to reject its application to open its first Dan Murphy’s Darwin store.
The group has been involved in a four-year battle to open its first Northern Territory Dan Murphy’s.
The appeal argues the commission didn’t consider the density of liquor stores where the new Dan Murphy’s store would be established and wrongly concluded it would bring an increased risk to problem drinkers.
“Darwin Dan Murphy’s was likely to have the greatest range of wine at prices at or just above the price required by the MUP,” the appeal said.
“There was no evidence to connect the range of wine available at any particular outlet with the misuse of alcohol.”
The appeal also said the commission also noted the Darwin sobering-up shelter was within 1km of the proposed site and could provide health impacts on at-risk local residents.
But that shelter now operates almost 11km away from the proposed site.
Woolworths will also argue that the commission “failed to take proper account of the benefits” of the proposed Darwin store “by failing to give any or any sufficient weight to evidence regarding the employment and other benefits of the construction of the premises”.
Additionally, the appeal noted that arguments submitted by experts including Australian Liquor Marketers general manager Paul Tisato had been contradicted by other evidence.
“The commission erred in accepting the evidence of Mr Tisato as uncontradicted and unchallenged that 50% of the sales of bottled wine at Dan Murphy’s is in the $10 or less wine category, when that specific evidence given by Mr Tisato was … contradicted by Mr Gavin Duane, an independent expert,” the appeal said.
FARE lodges Dan Murphy’s Darwin store appeal
Complicating matters further, the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education, the Public Health Association NT Chapter and Lesley Alford have also lodged an appeal against the appeal.
On Thursday, December 5, legal representatives will dispute the substitution of a liquor licence in the Dan Murphy’s proposal.
They are unhappy with Dan Murphy’s application to have a liquor licence “substituted” from a small BWS store in the city to a larger-scaled Dan Murphy’s outlet.
They argue the ambiguity of the word “substitution” had compromised Dan Murphy’s argument.
“This is clearly not an application to move a BWS store or the Douglas St store to another premises,” legal representative Tom Anderson told NT News.
“Essentially what the application has sought to do is … (Dan Murphy’s) saying ‘we want to open a completely new and different licence’.”
However, Woolworths’ legal representative Alistair Wyvill SC said the company always intended on transferring the licence to the larger Dan Murphy’s Darwin store, rather than redeveloping the now non-existent BWS.
“The whole point of this is to bring Dan Murphy’s to Darwin,” he said.
“It’s never been suggested what we’re doing is some modification on the store in Stuart Park.”
If the FARE appeal is upheld, the only option remaining for Woolworths will be to take the matter to the Supreme Court.