By ERWIN CHLANDA
While the police is touting as a success the “full lockdown” at all bottle shops, the CEO of the company running the three IGA stores in Alice Springs says the measure is affecting not only liquor, but also grocery sales.
Sally McMartin, the head of Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd, says unlike the big supermarkets, the bottle shops at Hearne Place, Flynn Drive and Lindsay Avenue are inside the grocery stores and don’t have a separate entrance.
That means the police asking for IDs to check on people living in areas where alcohol is prohibited – including town leases and bush communities – are challenging shoppers for groceries as well.
She says the three stores are part of a voluntary accord to sell wine at a floor price of $1.20 a standard drink. There are six standard drinks in a bottle. She says wine sold in glass bottles is popular but it is priced in line with the accord.
The three stores now have wine in plastic bottles on order which will go on the shelves when the stock in glass bottles is exhausted. The three stores do not sell cask wine.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Adam Giles says the results so far of stationing officers outside bottle shops, starting in late February, “for every hour of trade, seven days a week … have been impressive.
“During the operation’s first two weeks, police reported a 24% reduction in incidents compared to the same period last year. They also reported a 54% reduction in assaults.
“It’s more evidence that targeting specific hotspots and problem individuals gets results. By contrast, Labor inconvenienced everyone, with blanket rules which didn’t work.
“Since we came to Government wholesale alcohol supply in Alice Springs is down 7% to the lowest figure on record. This approach will assist in bringing that figure down further.”
Ms McMartin says she agrees there is a need for driving down the effects of alcohol abuse but the “pressure of the police presence at the stores should not be so intense as to deter people from buying groceries”.
Meanwhile John Boffa, of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC), says it seems the government has decided to continue the police presence which was announced initially to be for five weeks only.
PAAC continues to favour the re-introduction of the BDR system discontinued by the CLP government.
PHOTO: Wine in glass bottles at the Northside IGA store. Some brands will soon be available in plastic bottles.
By ERWIN CHLANDA