Woolworths granted yet another liquor license
Further to my recent article on the new Dan Murphy’s store in Leichhardt, Mosman residents are up in arms about the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s approval of a development application by Woolworths.
The approval follows a four-year battle in which local residents, the council, the local liquor licensing officer, the police and health authorities opposed the application for a new liquor store at 718-728 Military Rd, Mosman, just down from Spit Junction.
The application was approved last October, having previously been appealed to the Land and Environment Court, which overturned local council opposition.
Earlier last year, in March, an application for a liquor licence by Camperdown Cellars for a site near the Woolworths site was also approved by the authority, although the word on the grapevine is they’re probably not going ahead. Perhaps they were scared off by the Dan Murphy’s licence being granted.
The ABC ran a story on November 19 querying why the Woolworths licence was allowed, when there were 61 liquor licences in the Mosman area including 16 which sold takeaway alcohol. There didn’t seem to be a yawning need for more.
A glance at Google Maps shows the density of bottle shops in the area, including Cremorne and Neutral Bay.
The ABC queried why this licence was allowed. It pointed out that in six months only one application had been disallowed in the entire state by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. It had refused two applications to transfer existing licences.
“Overall, the number of liquor licence applications that have been refused has gradually fallen from 104 to just 15 between 2010 and 2015,” the ABC reported.
Mosman residents want to know what is the point of having an ‘independent’ licensing authority if it approves virtually every application that comes across its desk, even when there’s strong local opposition. Is it really independent?
Why take submissions from consulting authorities such as the police liquor licensing officer or local health authorities if they’re ignored? And what weight is given to local resident submissions – if any?
And finally: what thought is given to existing, long-standing businesses that will be impacted (and possibly driven out) by the new licences? The underlying problem behind the last point is that big supermarket retailers such as Coles and Woolworths do not operate on the same playing field as independent retailers. This is evidenced by the fact that independent retailers can buy ‘big company’ wines and many beers cheaper from a supermarket retailer than from their wholesale supplier.