Council objects to alcohol restrictions after lengthy debate

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Heated and lengthy debate has ended with Town of Port Hedland councillors voting against supporting a proposal to introduce a Section 64 order, which would lead to greater restrictions on alcohol.

Almost 100 residents gathered at the Town of Port Hedland Civic Centre for a special meeting of the council last night to discuss the restrictions proposed by WA Police with debate raging for more than four hours.

Eventually, Councillors Julie Arif, Troy Melville, David Hooper, Louise Newbery, Richard Whitwell and Jan Gillingham voted against supporting the application to the Director General of Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor

Lincoln Tavo and Mayor Camilo Blanco voted in favour of the application.

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Instead councillors agreed to Town chief executive David Pentz’s recommendation to continue to implement the Community Crime and Safety Plan, collaborate with law enforcement and public health agencies, acknowledge education would be key to reducing problems with alcohol related harm, request the Town chief executive provide councillors with updates regularly on the issue.

They also added amendments to ensure the general public is well informed on the advancements in the alcohol restrictions on the town and to investigate other alcohol restriction programs, including the Project Stop Program by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, already operated by 33 pharmacies in the NT.

Councillors also asked Mr Pentz to create a town wide survey to find out community census on future alcohol restrictions.

Throughout the course of the night Mr Blanco reminded all in attendance that the application and implementation of section 64 of the Liquor Control Act is up to the Director General of the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor.

While the council has voted not to support the application, the restrictions may still occur as the decision is not dependent on their agreement.

Members of the public are able to comment on the Section 64 application by putting in a formal letter of support or objection.

For more on this issue, pick up next weeks issue.

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