The West Australian government has announced a major crackdown on alcohol sales in the Pilbara mining region.
The Director of Liquor Licensing is instituting tough new regulations from the end of March, in an attempt to crack down on alcohol-related violence.
Residents will no longer be able to buy packaged liquor, cask and fortified wine, and beer in glass bottles bigger than 750ml on Sundays.
Customers will only be allowed to buy one carton of full-strength beer a day, three bottles of wine, and one litre of spirits. Tourists will be exempt if they can prove they are travellers and the alcohol will be consumed outside of town. The regulation will be backed up by the tourist’s details being provided to local police within 24 hours.
Discounted alcohol promotions will also be banned, plus any promotions linking alcohol with any prize or other incentive.
People will be able to order bulk supplies of alcohol if they fill in a form three days earlier, which is provided to police, and taxis will no longer be able to purchase alcohol on behalf of people.
“Addressing alcohol-related harm and abuse is a community-wide responsibility and cannot be ignored,” Director of Liquor Licensing delegate Peter Minchin said.
“I am hopeful that these restrictions, together with other government initiatives, will be the catalyst for positive and sustained change in the Pilbara region.”
Local publican and chairman of the West Pilbara Liquor Accord, Bart Parsons, told ABC News: “It’s definitely not great for the stigma of the place.
“It’s not really the right direction that the Pilbara wants to head in. When you’ve got Tourism WA talking about activating the place and you’ve got this sort of thing come out in the news. It’s not making people want to come and visit the area.”
Parsons added that he did not think the changes would work.
“We are not happy about the fact that we could be making some changes with the banned drinkers’ register, but we are just doing something that has been done time and time again,” he said.
“It segregates parts of society even further. We are not actually helping these people out really, we are just sort of pushing them away to other substances. I’d really like to see a holistic approach.”
Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said he was disappointed alternative solutions suggested by licensees had been ignored.
Alcohol-related domestic assaults in the Pilbara are seven times the city rate, and five times the WA rate. Meanwhile, bottle shops in the nearby town of Roebourne were closed two weeks ago after fighting broke out.