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Woolworths Backs Down On Controversial Dan Murphy's Next To Three Aboriginal Dry Areas

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Woolworths Backs Down On Controversial Dan Murphy's Next To Three Aboriginal Dry Areas

Woolworths has backed down on plans to set up a Dan Murphy's store in the Northern Territory.

The supermarket giant was keen on installing the liquor store in Darwin, however campaigners argued it was within walking distance to three Aboriginal dry communities.

The regions of Bagot, Kulaluk and Minmarama Park are three of more than 100 areas in the territory where alcohol is banned to ensure the local community don't form dependencies on drink.

Woolies faced its first major hurdle last year when construction plans were put on hold to allow for an independent review.

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But, the company has since revealed it will no longer continue plans for the grog shop following a recommendation from the Independent Panel Review.

Credit: NT Airports
Credit: NT Airports

Woolies Chairman Gordon Cairns said in a statement: "The Gilbert review has made it clear that we did not do enough in this community to live up to the best practice engagement to which we hold ourselves accountable.

"In particular, we did not do enough stakeholder engagement with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations."

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But Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said in a statement to shareholders that they weren't ruling out constructing a Dan Murphy's in the future.

"What we have announced today is that we will not be proceeding on the current location," he said.

"As to whether there's a future Dan Murphy's in Darwin that would be up to [Woolworths subsidiary] the Endeavour Group but certainly in any engagement process going forward we will take on board the Gilbert Review findings and adjust how we consult on those matters."

The move has been declared a massive win by Aboriginal and health campaigners.

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Danila Dilba Aboriginal Health Service Chief Executive Olga Havnen told the ABC it's a welcomed decision considering the risk the plans posed to the community.

"We think that's the right thing to do and it was certainly more than just the lack of appropriate consultation," she said.

"It actually goes to the question of public health issues, the public health concerns that we raised consistently and the potential for increased harm as a result of alcohol."

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner believes the decision has provided 'clarity' to an otherwise tricky situation.

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"Despite Woolworths' decision people remain able to enjoy a drink responsibly in the Darwin and Palmerston area and enjoy choice. There are several hundred licensed liquor outlets across the region," he said.

Featured Image Credit: Dan Murphy's/Facebook

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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