GREENS politician John Kaye has rejected Woolworths’ criticism of his party’s opposition to the proposed supermarket and bottle shop development in Bermagui.
Mr Kaye, the Greens member of NSW Parliament, has hit back at claims made by licensing manager of the Woolworths Liquor Group Shane Tremble.
In the BDN, Mr Kaye recently claimed the proposed Woolworths development would mean Bermagui would have four liquor outlets (19/2).
He said this would lead to an oversupplied market and could see an increase in domestic violence.
Mr Kaye said between 2007/11, domestic violence was up by 21 per cent in the local area.
In an email this week, Mr Kaye told the BDN he had quoted this figure from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s local government reports.
“The Bega Valley LGA spreadsheet covers the 2007-2011 periods and it is clearly displayed on the first page that the rate of domestic violence in the local government area has increased by 21 per cent,” he said.
“The sixth page of the document also states plainly that almost 60 per cent of domestic violence incidences in Bega Valley LGA were alcohol-related.”
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However, Mr Tremble said Mr Kaye had provided figures on domestic violence that aren’t accurately reflected (BDN, 22/2).
Mr Tremble said 2007 was a “lower” result for domestic violence and there had been a 20 per cent increase by 2011.
He said the figures didn’t relate to Bermagui, they related to Bega and Batemans Bay.
According to Mr Tremble, there was zero domestic violence incidents reported in Bermagui in 2011.
However, Mr Kaye said these statistics were unfounded.
“Contrary to Mr Tremble’s statement, the domestic violence figures quoted in the original article related only to the Bega Valley local government area and did not incorporate incidences from Batemans Bay,” he said.
“Mr Tremble’s incorporation of Batemans Bay figures into the discussion was misleading and unnecessary.
“The comments clearly rated to the Bega Valley local government area with comparisons made to the Eurobodalla LGA and other councils.
“The original news article focused solely on the impact the proposal would have on Bermagui residents and did not suggest that Bega or Batemans Bay would be impacted on, as Mr Tremble stated.”
In last Friday’s BDN, Mr Tremble said he hadn’t found evidence that there were three packaged liquor outlets in Bermagui, as previously stated by Mr Kaye.
Mr Kaye said Bermagui Beach Hotel has an off licence on Lamont St, Bermagui Local Liquor Cellars was on Bunga St and he understood the country club has a takeaway service.
“Bermagui already has three packaged liquor outlets, not two as Mr Tremble stated,” he said.
“A fourth packaged liquor outlet to serve a community of fewer than 2000 will saturate Bermagui with opportunities to purchase and consume alcohol.
“Woolworths cannot escape responsibility for the inevitable increase in domestic violence.”
Mr Kaye said the increase in domestic violence and the role that alcohol plays in these statistics is unacceptable.
“Mr Tremble's comment that 2007 was a ‘lower result’ for domestic violence seems to suggest that Woolworths may consider there to be a normal and acceptable level of assault,” he said.
“The Greens believe that no violence in any area should be tolerated.
“Far from explaining 2007 as an aberration, the Greens believe that all efforts should be made to return to that level and further reduce incidences of violence.
“Introducing another bottle shop into an area already adequately served will be opposed by the Greens.
“Woolworths is ignoring the established connection between increasing bottle shop density and increasing rates of domestic violence.
“The Greens support the campaign against Woolworths' proposal and urge the Bega Valley council to reject it,” Mr Kaye said.