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Store owners attack licence bid

WA LIQUOR sellers have hit back at the latest attempt by petrol station owners to gain liquor licences.

Through their industry body Convenience Stores Australasia, petrol station owners have branded moves to prevent them from selling alcohol anti-competitive.

CSA executive director Barry Anderson said stopping petrol station owners obtaining liquor licences defied the National Comp-etition Policy agreement WA signed.

However, the policy allows the WA Government to prohibit certain activities if it is believed to be for the public good.

Liquor Stores Association executive director Hilary White said any move to allow businesses to sell alcohol as a secondary product would be disastrous.

“Our concern is anyone who sells liquor as a secondary business is not committed to the safe selling of alcohol,” Mr White said.

“If a petrol station owner or a newsagent lost a liquor licence, they would still have their other product lines to fall back on.

“A liquor store owner puts his livelihood into his store. If he loses his licence, he loses his business.”

Australian Hotels Association WA Branch executive director Bradley Woods said allowing petrol stations to sell alcohol would turn liquor into an impulse product.

“Petrol stations sell a lot of convenience products such as Mars Bars and packets of chips,” Mr Woods said. “Alcohol could easily fall into this category.”

Mr Anderson admitted convenience stores concentrated on high turnover products.

“The average sale in a convenience store is about $5,” Mr Anderson said.

He said all petrol station owners and their staff would be trained to sell alcohol safely.

Mr Anderson equated selling alcohol to selling cigarettes.

“We don’t have convictions in any state for selling tobacco,” he said.

Mr White said an underaged person buying cigarettes was not as dangerous as an underaged person buying alcohol – especially if that person held a driver’s licence.

He said both the LSA and the AHA had taken a stand on convenience stores selling liquor because of community concern.

“Juvenile drinking and drink driving are major concerns,” he said.

The LSA wants legislation prohibiting the granting of a licences to petrol stations, convenience stores, milkbars and even cinemas.

The WA Government is currently drafting legislation that is believed to prohibit the granting of liquor licences to petrol stations.

Of the 3,300 liquor licences in WA, 440 have gone to liquor stores, 360 of which are LSA members.

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