The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSAWA) has welcomed a decision by the Director of Liquor Licensing to allow non-metropolitan Liquor Store licenses to trade on Easter Sunday.
LSAWA CEO Peter Peck said the decision, in line with that issued over the Christmas period last year was a sensible relaxation of an anomaly under current legislation.
“The Association worked with government in the lead up to Christmas to allow regional liquor stores to trade on Sundays without the need for each to apply for an Extended Trading Permit (ETP),” Mr Peck said.
“We are very pleased to have been successful in negotiating with the Director to make a similar decision in regard to Easter Sunday.”
“For background, the current Liquor Control Act prohibits non-metro Liquor Store licensees from trading on a Sunday.”
“The current Parliamentary debate about amendments to the Act has shown us that many people – including Members of Parliament – are simply unaware because they see large country outlets open on Sundays.”
“The anomaly is that while the Act bans small businesses trading under a Liquor Store license from opening, it allows those with a Hotel or Tavern license to build huge retail shops that effectively get around the no-Sunday trading clause by being attached to a pub.”
“For example, the Highway Hotel in Bunbury has a Dan Murphy’s that is bigger than the Tavern it is attached to and trading as a ‘liquor store’ from 10am to 7pm on Sundays without any need for special permission. (see below)”
“We aren’t having a go at pubs or the big box movers, they are just doing what they can to use the law to its full extent as it currently stands.”
“The fact is, Hotels and Taverns were originally allowed to sell takeaway liquor to allow people who were having a drink on premise to take a small amount of packaged liquor home with them and we have no problem with that.”
“But as Mark McGowan said when he was Minister for Racing and Gaming in 2006 (see below), the big companies with the money to do are simply buying hotels and taverns to exploit the loophole in the current law and get around the Sunday trading anomaly.”
“We therefore thoroughly support the Director’s decision to address this anomaly at least for Easter Sunday to allow those trading under the correct license to compete if they so wish,” Mr Peck concluded.
“…the major supermarket chains are currently buying hotels and taverns. Some 14 high-volume hotels and taverns, in prominent locations, have been purchased by the chains. The chains are doing that so that they can sell liquor on Sundays. Therefore, any artificial effort to get around that by using this mechanism is not working, because Coles and Woolworths are buying hotels. At the same time, independent liquor stores are not able to open on Sundays. The chains are allowed to open on Sundays, but the independents are not. That is just not sensible.”
[Hon Mark McGowan, Minister for Racing, Gaming and Liquor 24 October 2006]