THE City of Cockburn will limit the amount of bottle shops to two per shopping centre after councillors and Mayor Logan Howlett supported a recommendation put forward at last week’s council meeting.
The recommendation, supported by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), looks to reduce alcohol harm in community by limiting the number of bottle shops to two, in or adjacent to local shopping centres.
PHAA chief executive Michael Moore said there was strong evidence on the link between increased alcohol outlet density and a wide range of harms from poorer health outcomes, to assault and family violence.
“The (Cockburn) Council’s documentation shows clearly that there is already ample access to liquor outlets in the area,” Mr Moore said.
“The City of Cockburn should be supported in adopting an evidence-based approach to ensuring that the community is protected from these harms.”
Cockburn Environmental Health Manager Nick Jones said bottle shops had more than doubled, from nine to 20, in the City since 2000, with eight approved in the last six years.
In the same period, total liquor outlets increased by 48 per cent, from 30 to 82, equating to one accessible liquor outlet for at least every 1,700 residents.
Currently only two of the existing 25 local shopping centres – Beeliar and South Lake – have two bottle shops.
It is likely a third bottle shop application will come from Aldi currently under construction next to the proposed Vale Tavern, which will likely include a drive-through bottle shop, at Beeliar Shopping Centre.
Without the Aldi proposal, the current bottle shop and the proposed drive-through would take the packaged liquor outlets at the centre to a maximum of two, now adopted as part of the City’s new position statement.
Mr Jones said if the current growth rate of bottle shops continued, it would be a concern to the community and from a public health perspective, could be argued that the City is reaching the point where on behalf of the community, it should declare that the density is adequate and should not be increased.
“While it is a difficult position, because a poll would probably result in more people for than against more bottle shops, it is a scenario where elected members have the responsibility to consider the overall health of the community, rather than popular opinion,” Mr Jones said.
The City will inform the Director of Liquor Licensing (DLL) of its position, and consider lodging objections with the DLL and refusing planning applications where more than two bottle shops are proposed for any local shopping centre.