Try banned drinkers’ register first, says Pilbara MLA

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel.
Camera IconPilbara MLA Kevin Michel. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr

Tough new liquor restrictions for the Pilbara should be pushed back until after a banned drinkers’ register has been implemented in the region and its impact assessed, according to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel.

Mr Michel is calling for the region-wide liquor restrictions announced by Director of Liquor Licensing Duncan Ord last month, due to come into effect from March 31, to be delayed in favour of rolling out a Northern Territory-style banned drinkers’ register first.

In a letter sent to some properties in the City of Karratha area last week, he wrote data collected during the register trial would not be able to be properly assessed if it ran concurrently with restrictions, and urged people dissatisfied with the announcement to write to Mr Ord seeking a review of the decision.

“It’s a targeted approach that will put those in need of individualised wrap around support and treatment options in contact with service providers when they attempt to buy alcohol,” he said.

“I share the community’s scepticism at the effectiveness of more liquor restrictions for our Pilbara,” he said.

“I am confident the banned drinkers’ register will provide a robust avenue for evaluation — through UWA’s Public Policy Institute, so that Government will know whether it is effective.”

Upcoming liquor restrictions for the Pilbara include a ban on the purchase of takeaway alcohol on Sundays or promotions of full-strength beer and the introduction of daily takeaway limits of one bottle of spirits or a combination of a carton of beer and three bottles of wine during the week.

The banned drinkers register, which is designed to block problem drinkers from buying alcohol by cross-referencing photo identification, is expected to be rolled out in the Pilbara in the first quarter of this year.

It was originally planned to start before the end of 2018.

Mr Michel said other steps he had taken on the issue included raising a grievance in Parliament last May, tabling a petition against the restrictions in June and organising community forums with the Director in August.

He said the Labor Government “will not shy away from” the issue.

“We will work with industry, the community, the not-for-profit sector and the minority of people experiencing problems with alcohol to try to find a solution,” he said.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails