WOOLWORTHS has rubbished Greens MP John Kaye’s claims that the proposed development in Bermagui would have a negative impact.
Several hundred people packed into the Bermagui Community Centre last week for the town’s public forum, where a minority present spoke in favour of Woolworths.
Others expressed their belief the supermarket will “threaten village life in Bermagui”, with this group receiving support from Mr Kaye, the Greens member of NSW Parliament.
In Tuesday’s BDN, Mr Kaye said Bermagui would have four liquor outlets with the Woolworths development.
Mr Kaye said this would lead to an oversupplied liquor market and could see an increase in domestic violence (DV) caused.
He said between 2007/11, DV was up by 21 per cent in the local area.
However, licensing manager for the Woolworths Liquor Group Shane Tremble has hit back at the claims, saying the figures aren’t accurately reflected.
Mr Tremble said 2007 was a “lower result” for DV and there had been a 20 per cent increase by 2011.
“But the figures don’t relate to Bermagui – they relate to Bega and Batemans Bay,” he said.
In 2011, Mr Tremble said there was zero DV incidents reported in Bermagui, while there were only three alcohol-related assaults that year.
“I don’t think anyone could honestly contend the opening of an alcohol shop in Bermagui would affect Bega and Batemans Bay,” he said.
Mr Tremble said he hadn’t found evidence that there were three packaged liquor outlets in the seaside town.
He said he had learned there was one liquor outlet and one hotel with a small takeaway service.
Mr Tremble said alcohol-related violence statistics are publically available by visiting the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research website, www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au.
“In all of Mr Kaye’s statements, nothing was referenced,” he said.
Mr Kaye told the BDN he would be working to block Woolworths’ request for a Liquor and Gaming Individual Licence, which allows them to sell alcohol.
Mr Tremble said the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) was a “pretty important part” of making a judgement if a liquor outlet would impact a community.
He said obtaining a licence involved some of the most “rigorous” tests in NSW before being granted.
Woolworths also undertook the highest standard of staff training, Mr Tremble said.
This includes asking for proof of ID if the customer looks under 25 years of age, education about secondary alcohol supply, an ethical ranging checklist and the school uniform policy, which means not selling alcohol to anyone in school uniform.
Mr Tremble said Woolworths hadn’t yet applied for a liquor licence at Bermagui, but would undergo the same process and meet the necessary requirements.
At the public forum, the proposed Woolworths in Bermagui was described by some as a “mega development”, a statement that surprised Mr Tremble.
Mr Tremble said the Bermagui Woolworths would be 1500 square metres, around a third of the size of a full-on supermarket.
He said the supermarket would be about the same size as the Dan Murphy’s outlet in Bega.