Green light for Easter Sunday liquor sales in regions

South Western Times

The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia has welcomed a decision by the Director of Liquor Licensing to allow non-metropolitan liquor stores to trade on Easter Sunday.

Association chief executive officer Peter Peck said the decision, in line with that issued over the 2017 Christmas period, was a sensible relaxation of an anomaly under current legislation.

“The Association worked with government in the lead up to Christmas to allow regional liquor stores to trade on Sundays without the need for each to apply for an extended trading permit,” he said.

“We are very pleased to have been successful in negotiating with the Director to make a similar decision in regard to Easter Sunday.”

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Mr Peck said the current Act prohibits non-metro liquor store licensees from trading on a Sunday.

“Recent Parliamentary debate about amendments to the Act has shown us that many people – including Members of Parliament – are simply unaware because they see large country outlets open on Sundays,” he said.

“The anomaly is that while the Act bans small businesses trading under a Liquor Store license from opening, it allows those with a Hotel or Tavern license to build huge retail shops that effectively get around the no-Sunday trading clause by being attached to a pub.”

Mr Peck said Bunbury’s Highway Hotel was an example of this, as the Dan Murphy’s is bigger than the tavern it is attached to, but can trade as a ‘liquor store’ from 10am to 7pm on Sundays without a need for a special permit.

“We aren’t having a go at pubs or the big box movers, they are just doing what they can to use the law to its full extent as it currently stands,” he said.

“The fact is, hotels and taverns were originally allowed to sell takeaway for people who were having a drink on premise to take a small amount of packaged liquor home with them, and we have no problem with that.

“But as Premier Mark McGowan said when he was the Minister in 2006, the big companies are simply buying hotels and taverns to exploit the loophole in the current law and get around the Sunday trading anomaly.

“We therefore thoroughly support the Director’s decision to address this anomaly, at least for Easter Sunday, to allow those trading under the correct license to compete if they so wish.”

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