Banned Drinkers Register to be a game changer in WA

24 February, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

Pictured: Minister Paul Papalia and LSA WA CEO Peter Peck address the media

An initiative that has been designed to combat the ongoing alcohol-related harm issues in the Pilbara region of Western Australia is one step closer to launching, with the State Government releasing a detailed tender request.

Advertisement

The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia (LSA WA) and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA WA) have led the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) project, which aims to restrict problem drinkers from purchasing takeaway alcohol.

The BDR will require takeaway liquor retailers to reject sales to individuals who are listed on the register as a result of Prohibition Orders or Barring Notices. Importantly, the technology is designed to target problem drinkers and avoid imposing blanket alcohol restrictions on entire communities.

What’s involved with the Banned Drinkers Register project?

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) is administering the trial, releasing a detailed tender request to market, which outlines the system’s requirements. Potential vendors have four weeks to respond.

The tender request also includes functionality to support Takeaway Alcohol Management System (TAMS). The TAMS functionality may be used to support existing liquor restrictions outside of the Pilbara.

To allow for the evaluation of Pilbara BDR trial, the TAMS functionality will not be used in conjunction with the BDR trial.

Racing and Gaming Minister, Paul Papalia, says that the tender release represents a significant milestone in the McGowan Government’s work to address alcohol-related harm in the Pilbara.

“The banned drinkers register is an important initiative to improve social and health outcomes for people in the Pilbara. It is designed to target problem drinkers by preventing them from purchasing takeaway liquor.

“The initiative aims to specifically target people with alcohol problems, providing an alternative approach to blanket restrictions which would impact the entire community,” he said.

The two-year trial will commence as soon as possible following the tender process and will be evaluated by The University of Western Australia.

“I would like to thank Australian Hotels Association (WA) and the Liquor Stores Association of WA for their collaborative work progressing this important program,” said Minister Papalia.

Industry Reactions

LSA WA and AHA WA have welcomed the support of the McGowan Government, who will now administer the trial through the DLGSC.

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods says that there has been overwhelming community support for the BDR.

“It is a targeted approach that does not penalise law abiding citizens by preventing them from purchasing a legal product, as is the case with blanket liquor restrictions.

“We are particularly heartened by Minister Paul Papalia’s statement that the inclusion of functionality to support a takeaway alcohol management system (TAMS) in the tender process will only be used to support existing liquor restrictions outside of the Pilbara.”

LSA WA CEO, Peter Peck, says that the tangible benefits associated with the BDR would have a significant, and positive impact on many Pilbara communities and would be a “game changer” towards harm minimisation in Western Australia.

“With the WA Government managing the trial it will ensure that the results produced by UWA can’t be dismissed by accusations of a third party influencing the outcome,” he said.

“A successful BDR has the potential to be one of the biggest game changers towards harm minimisation in the state.

“Ultimately the biggest winners from a successful BDR trial will be the people of the Pilbara. The challenge for all of us is to ensure we sail from a sea of despair to hope on the horizon.”

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Julie Ryan has also welcomed the McGowan Government’s announcement and looks forward to the BDR trial rollout.

“Retail Drinks Australia and its members are pleased to be working with the McGowan Government on the two-year trial of a Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) in the Pilbara, and looks forward to collaborating with the AHA (WA) and LSAWA to ensure all licensees in Western Australia are supported through the trial.

“Retail Drinks’ members have highly relevant experience with working with Banned Drinkers Registers through the existing regulated framework in the Northern Territory, and their practical understanding of not only the system requirements but also how to best support licensees in their understanding and management of the sensitive issues in administering a BDR will undoubtedly be valuable in assisting the Department of Local Government, Sport and Multicultural Industries,” she said.

The Community

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel, said: “I am so pleased the Minister and this Government have listened to my ongoing advocacy on behalf of the Pilbara.

“We want to see if a targeted measure can work more effectively than subjecting every responsible consumer to restrictions.

“My office will be open to constituents who have any questions during the trial. I look forward to working with the community on this important project.”