Pilbara residents have given an overwhelming thumbs down to a police push for severe liquor restrictions across the region, including a plan to ban full-strength beer sales from bottle shops.
A survey conducted by the Australian Hotels Association found 87 per cent of respondents were opposed to tougher restrictions, while more than 90 per cent believed introducing a Northern Territory-style banned drinkers register was a better way to target problem drinkers.
Police revealed in August that they had written to WA’s Director of Liquor Licensing seeking a range of restrictions on takeaway alcohol sales to help crack down on alcohol-fuelled violence, particularly in communities such as Roebourne where child sexual abuse was rife.
The proposed restrictions included a limit of one carton of mid-strength beer per customer each day, or three bottles of wine or a single bottle of spirits.
Store hours would also be reduced, restricting trading times to just six hours a day between 2pm and 8pm.
But AHA chief executive Bradley Woods said the survey conducted by his organisation showed the proposals were out of sync with what Pilbara residents believed was an “acceptable” response to their region’s problems.
“The overwhelming majority of residents in the Pilbara work hard, pay their taxes, obey the rule of law and drink responsibly, so it is unsurprising they have rejected this draconian policy approach,” Mr Woods said.
“The issue of excessive drinking in parts of WA is real and it is concerning, however, no one benefits from lazy policy responses which are ineffective at addressing the issue at hand, yet penalise law-abiding Australians.”
More than 650 people took part in the survey, with almost 80 per cent also expressing support for cashless welfare cards to be introduced along with a banned drinkers register.
The Director of Liquor Licensing is yet to decide whether a public inquiry into the issue is needed.