On Friday, two groups of local people became abusive and disruptive outside the South Hedland Shopping Centre regarding a traffic incident that occurred the night before, leaving a member of one of the groups seriously injured.
Concerned that the situation could escalate, the South Hedland Police asked members of the local liquor accord to voluntarily stop trading until the situation was defused.
Every member of the Port Hedland Liquor accord, other than the BWS, agreed to voluntarily close in response to the Police request. Consequently, local Police were left with no option but to use much stronger legal action to force the closure of all stores.
Board Member of the Liquor Stores Association of WA (LSAWA) and owner of South Hedland Liquor Supplies, Brent Rudler said it was unfortunate that the Woolworths-owned BWS didn’t cooperate with the initial Police request to voluntarily close.
“Our local Accord has put in a lot of effort to build trust and work proactively with local Police to minimise harm caused by troublesome people in our community,” Mr Rudler said.
“After all the effort owners of independent outlets put into the Accord to help Police manage the few individuals who can’t or won’t control their behaviour, it is deeply disappointing that BWS did not cooperate with either the Police request or the will of every other member of the Accord.”
LSAWA CEO Peter Peck said the event raises two important issues.
“We know it’s a policy written in a Boardroom in the East and not the fault of the local staff. It’s just really disappointing that local stores can’t operate in a way that helps their local community,” Mr Peck said.
“But even worse for the town is that by forcing the Police to take formal action, BWS has put another cross next to South Hedland in government statistics.”
“Ultimately, that damages the reputation of the whole community which means less people willing to work, visit and spend their money in the town and that means less money to improve the situation.”
“The LSAWA urges every company that owns a liquor store in WA to ensure local staff have the authority to act in the best interest of the communities that host them,” Mr Peck concluded.