FEARS of a dramatic increase in alcohol-fuelled crime have forced the shock rejection of a liquor licence for Griffith's proposed BWS store.
Council approved a development application for the outlet to occupy the old United Service Station site on Banna Avenue in October 2011, leaving only the liquor licence to be approved.
But the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (OLGR) ruled against the application from the Woolworths-owned business, citing it could be detrimental to the community.
Griffith councillor Bill Lancaster, who submitted a personal objection to the application, said he wasn’t surprised the liquor store had been knocked back.
“There is a high rate of domestic violence in our community and a number of studies have linked the number of liquor outlets to that sort of thing,” Cr Lancaster said.
“No one has taken an interest in bringing in proven methods to help control abuse of alcohol and I think it’s important we show we are very concerned about that.”
While several local groups, including the Community Drug Action Team and Griffith Women’s Refuge, also submitted objections to the licence, the majority of the city’s councillors supported the new store.
Cr Christine Stead, who spoke in favour of the outlet last year, said the refusal was a sign OLGR was starting to clamp down on liquor licensing.
“I thought it would be more suitable than a liquor outlet at Driver – it’s in the CBD and it’s well lit up,” Cr Stead said.
“I know there’s a lot of crime that goes on in this town that’s liquor-related but they could have put restrictions on it. But in the end it’s their (OLGR’s) call.”
OLGR rejected a similar application this week for a liquor store in Byron Bay which received more objections than any other liquor application in history.
Both Cr Stead and Cr Lancaster believed submissions against the local store had played a key role in the ruling.
In a statement to The Area News, an OLGR spokesman said it was “not satisfied that the proposal would not be detrimental to the wellbeing of the local or broader community”.