The NT Government is moving to amend its liquor laws to assist Dan Murphy’s in its quest to open its first Darwin outlet.
The Legislative Assembly presented the Liquor Amendment Bill this afternoon. It has been referred to the Legislation Scrutiny Committee for inquiry and report by March 24, 2020.
The Committee has encouraged all interested people to provide their comments and feedback on the Bill. Submissions should be sent to LSC@nt.gov.au by close of business on Monday, March 2, 2020.
Endeavour Group 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.
There is a moratorium on new liquor licences in NT, but the Government allows licences to be transferred between premises.
However, the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled in December that it was against NT liquor laws to transfer licences from existing outlets to ones that haven’t been built yet.
Dan Murphy’s parent company Woolworths has been seeking to overturn the NCAT decision in the Supreme Court, with an appeal set to be heard on February 21.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the Government would move to allow businesses to substitute their liquor licence to a premises that has not yet been built.
Fyles said the amendment would be retrospective to February 27, 2018.
Endeavour Group’s general manager of corporate services Shane Tremble told Inside FMCG: “On the face of it the legislation tabled [on Thursday] would appear to clearly address the issues around the proposed substitution of the licence that led to the NTCAT refusal decision in December.
“It also fulfills the Government’s commitment to clarify the original intent of the legislation.”
Endeavour Group’s lawyers received the bill late on Thursday afternoon and are still reviewing the proposed legislation.
“If the Bill is passed in its current form it will mean that we will return to NTCAT for another hearing,” Tremble said.
“This new proceeding will determine whether we can bring the Dan Murphy’s brand to Darwin.”
Woolworths has been involved in a four-year battle to open its first Northern Territory Dan Murphy’s.