Pilbara banned drinkers register trial to commence in December

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Port Hedland Liquor Accord president Brent Rudler, Racing and Gambling minister Paul Papalia and Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel at South Hedland Thirsty Camel
Camera IconPort Hedland Liquor Accord president Brent Rudler, Racing and Gambling minister Paul Papalia and Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel at South Hedland Thirsty Camel

The long awaited Pilbara banned drinkers register trial will launch on December 1, following the State Government’s decision to appoint a WA company to deliver the program.

The register will alert liquor store staff of problem drinkers at the point of sale, giving licensees a real-time tool to identify those who cannot legally be sold alcohol.

WA company Scantek has been selected to supply and support the BDR trial, which will investigate the concept's effectiveness in limiting alcohol-related harm by ensuring banned drinkers will not be able to purchase takeaway liquor.

The BDR technology will assess a person’s identification to determine if they are on the register, with a visual indicator to alert staff if they are a banned drinker.

According to State Government information, personal information relating to people on the BDR will remain confidential and no records will be kept by licensees about the purchaser, what they purchased or if they are refused.

The trial is expected to run for two years and be evaluated by the University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute.

Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said the effects of alcohol-related harm in the Pilbara continue to be felt by those most vulnerable in the community, including children and families subject to domestic violence.

“While it is widely acknowledged that the issues around alcohol misuse are incredibly complex and cannot be resolved by a single solution, the BDR trial will add to our understanding of how best to mitigate these kinds of destructive behaviours,” he said.

“The BDR trial and UWA evaluation will investigate the efficacy of this approach, with a view to gaining a better understanding of whether BDRs should be used more widely around the State.

“The State Government is continuing to work with police, industry and the community to reduce alcohol-related harm in the Pilbara, and we thank the Liquor Stores Association WA and the Australian Hotels Association WA for their support.”

Port Hedland Liquor Accord president Brent Rudler said he was happy to see years of planning come to fruition.

“30 years I’ve been in the industry and we’ve been waiting for something other than 64 inquiries and the restrictions we’ve had in place,” he said.

“I really look forward to working in conjunction with the police to help the people who need the help.”

Member for Pilbara Kevin Michel said the register would help curb alcohol related problems.

“This trial will add to our body of knowledge around the best ways to deal with damaging behaviour related to alcohol, to ensure we provide help to those experiencing problems with alcohol and protect our community’s most vulnerable,” he said.

As part of the initiative, people who would like to voluntarily remove their access to takeaway alcohol can elect to be placed on the BDR.

Those identified as banned drinkers will be directed to appropriate wraparound community services to provide access to relevant support programs and initiatives.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries will commence extensive consultation with affected licensees and other key stakeholders throughout the two year trial period.

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