08/04/2019 - 15:54

Liquor licence approval successfully appealed

08/04/2019 - 15:54

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The process for obtaining liquor licences in Perth has become less clear after the Commissioner of Police successfully challenged approvals for a new Dan Murphy’s store in Rockingham.

Liquor licence approval successfully appealed
Dan Murphy’s store in North Perth. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The process for obtaining liquor licences in Perth has become less clear after the Commissioner of Police successfully challenged approvals for a new Dan Murphy’s store in Rockingham.

In a Supreme Court of Western Australia appeal judgement handed down on Friday, the Commissioner of Police successfully appealed the Liquor Commission of WA’s decision to allow the Leisure Inn Hotel in Rockingham to be turned into a Dan Murphy’s store.

The Liquor Commission approved the development in October 2017 after assessing the application by Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, a Woolworths subsidiary.

At that time, the Commissioner of Police submitted that approving the liquor store would lead to a significantly higher rate of liquor consumption and higher rates of crime and domestic violence.

The Liquor Commission determined the increase in harm and ill-health that may result from approving the Dan Murphy’s store did not outweigh the benefits to the City of Rockingham and the community.

The perceived benefits to the community included increased employment opportunities, the proposed $6.5 million investment to upgrade the premises, a staff training facility and increased visitation to the area, benefitting other businesses in the commercial precinct.

The Commissioner of Police appealed the decision on the grounds that the Liquor Commission took into account irrelevant considerations, denied it procedural fairness and failed to give it notice of considerations.

The Commissioner of Police’s first ground of appeal was that when considering whether the application was in the public interest, the Liquor Commission took into account irrelevant considerations including the extent to which broader economic changes would benefit the community.

Supreme Court Justice Joseph McGrath said the Liquor Commission used a section of the Act that referred to the impact on the amenity of the locality.

"Having regard to the ordinary meaning of the word 'amenity', the phrase 'the amenity of the locality' encompasses considerations of public order, and the maintenance of the peace and the pleasant quality or disposition of a locality."

 

“Nothing in that phrase imports a notion that wider or diffuse economic benefits to a locality are encompassed,” Justice McGrath said in the court judgement.

The second ground of appeal was that the Liquor Commission denied the Commissioner of Police procedural fairness by failing reasonably to give it notice of the Liquor Commission's view as to the significance to the Liquor Commission's decision these factors.

Justice McGrath said the Liquor Commission failed to reasonably give notice of the significance of the economic benefit considerations in its decision.

“I am not able to conclude that the lack of procedural fairness could not have affected the outcome,” he said.

The Commissioner of Police’s third ground for appeal was that the Liquor Commission failed to consider whether granting the application would cater for the requirements of consumers for liquor and related serviced in isolation which was not upheld.

Justice McGrath upheld grounds one and two but dismissed ground three, meaning the appeal was upheld and the original decision made by the Liquor Commission was quashed.

The application will now be reconsidered by the Liquor Commission of WA.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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