The controversial transfer of a liquor licence from Pam's General Store in Tilba Tilba to Bermagui’s Woolworths is now in the hands of the Liquor and Gaming Authority Board.
Chairman of the Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council Ken Campbell said the community feels they have been shown no respect during the consultation process.
He said four meetings over the issue have seen unanimous votes against the extra licence, with the last attended by Liquor and Gaming NSW representatives after concerns were raised the community had not been thoroughly consulted.
Mr Campbell is concerned the licence will unnecessarily expose children to alcohol.
“There’s enough already, you take your kid there to go shopping, not to buy grog,” he said.
“The grog there will be cheaper, so will the smokes, which will attract the kids.”
Mr Campbell said profits are being made a priority ahead of community concerns, and Bermagui Focus Group member Paul Payten agrees.
“Communities need to have their own determination, because it’s not profits, it’s people we are here for,” Mr Payten said.
The group protested the first application for an outlet in a “retail tenancy” at the supermarket, which was eventually refused by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority in November 2015.
He described the town’s number of licences for packaged alcohol, if the application were to go through, as “ludicrous”.
“What’s different is it’s an existing licence, not a new licence, yet it’s from a different Local Government Area coming into the Bega Valley,” he said. “We are ideally expecting it to be thrown out, because there’s no differentiating circumstances.”
Liquor and Gaming NSW said the community’s concerns will be taken into account.
“When determining applications, the ILGA Board carefully considers all relevant impacts on the local community,” an ILGA Board spokesperson said ahead of the public submission period.
Merrimans LALC CEO Anne Greenaway said the bare minimum level of consultation with the community had taken place.
“Why do we need so many liquor outlets in a small community, when Bega has triple the population and less?” she said.