Opinion: MLA John McGrath tailored remarks to favour Dan Murphy’s stores

Stock picture.
Stock picture.

I sat in the public gallery of the Legislative Assembly on March 13 to watch the proceedings on a small screen from 2pm to 6pm.

During his second reading speech on the Liquor Control Amendment Bill 2018, MLA John McGrath tailored his remarks to favour Dan Murphy’s Liquor Stores.

Although Dan Murphy’s told him 50 per cent of wine sales were in the $20 and above range, Cambell Stott, its general manager, said in 2015 $10 was the ‘go to’ price for an everyday wine.

As to the effect of availability and price on alcohol consumption, cheap prices do attract more drinkers as shown by the recently discounted beer prices in Subiaco at the Village Bar and The Vic, which are less than a kilometre apart.

Although at most 40 per cent of Dan Murphy’s customers may buy premium wines, the rest are buying wines from the bargain bin for $6-$10. Dan Murphy’s has 30 per cent of the liquor market in Australia in terms of total dollars spent while it costs the WA community $3.1 billion per year in police, ambulance, health services and road crashes associated with alcohol consumption.

The attempt by John McGrath to water down efforts at harm reduction does not sit well with a cash-strapped government.

The AHA wants liquor store licences not to be granted unless the licensing authority is satisfied the reasonable requirements for liquor in the area cannot be provided for by existing liquor licences.

Interests and needs of alcohol sellers have had too much sway as three Dan Murphy’s opened in Australia last December, bringing the total to 225.

For five years, the cities of South Perth and Bayswater have held off Woolworths’ ongoing bid to put a Dan Murphy’s liquor barn next to a tavern in unsuitable locations.

Enough is enough.