I’m saying to the Woolworths’ boss Gordon Cairns,
“Why do you want to do this when there are plenty of alcohol places around? Please have a heart. We live this day-to-day. If need be swap places with me – I’ll come to your house and you come to mine, and then you’ll find out what it’s like.”
It’s really hard but we have to keep going and if we want to get things done we have to keep going and keep pushing ahead and keep on talking about what we decided we are going to do, because the decisions have gotta all be made from community people – that’s how it’s gotta be.
Hear the stories of impacted community members below, read more of the history behind this development, and take action to support the Bagot Community in their fight to convince Woolworths to stop this development.
For almost five years Woolworths has relentlessly fought to build what would be one of Australia’s largest liquor stores, an 1800 square meter Dan Murphy’s, on the doorstep of Bagot community, a dry Aboriginal community in Darwin.
Woolworths has pursued this store in the face of community opposition and concern, in the full knowledge that the Northern Territory (NT) already has the highest levels of alcohol harm in the country, and despite being aware that the proposed development threatens to undermine the successful alcohol policies that the NT Government introduced to reduce community harm.
Woolworths knows there is strong community objection to its proposed Dan Murphy’s development.
The development is opposed by the Bagot Community, members of the public, and organisations including the Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS), Danila Dilba Health Service, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT), Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APONT).
The NT Liquor Commission rejected the Woolworths application. In making its decision, the Commission found that “approving the application would lead to a significant increase in the level of alcohol related harms which already exist in this community.”
It is most unfortunate that the Applicant did not engage in consulting the local community prior to committing to this site because it would, in our view, have come to the realisation that this was not an appropriate position for any liquor store, let alone one the size of Dan Murphy’s.
Yet Woolworths continued to ignore community concern in its pursuit of its giant Dan Murphy’s store, refusing to accept the clear decision of the independent Liquor Commission. They appealed to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) and then the Supreme Court. To date, Woolworths has not won any cases in favour of building this store.
Enter the NT Government. Introduced by the Minister for Small Business in November 2020, the Government passed legislation to allow yet another re-consideration of the proposed development. This time, Woolworths could have their liquor license decided by just one person — the Director of Liquor Licensing — rather than the independent Liquor Commission.
Since the rules of natural justice did not apply under this new legislation, the Director of Liquor Licensing was not required to consult with the impacted community — and decided to approve Woolworths’ application to build their alcohol megastore in Darwin.
Just before the announcement of their liquor license approval, Woolworths announced a review of their proposed store led by Danny Gilbert.
While the community is pleased to engage with this panel when given the opportunity, community opposition to the Darwin Dan Murphy’s continues to remain strong.