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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1126 asked in the Legislative Council on 8 November 2018 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon P. Papalia
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

BANNED DRINKERS REGISTER TRIAL — PILBARA

1126. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Minister for Racing and Gaming:

I refer to the PerthNow article of 29 July 2018 that refers to the minister's suggestions that the banned drinkers register trial is proposed for the Pilbara communities of Port Hedland, Karratha, Onslow, Tom Price, Newman and Paraburdoo before the end of this year.

(1) When will the trial begin?

(2) Which towns and licensed premises will participate in the trial?

(3) How will the trial operate, how will a banned drinkers register be established and maintained, and who will be responsible for the register?

(4) Can the minister please list the community groups, local governments and liquor licence holders in the Pilbara that have been consulted on the banned drinkers register?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. The following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Racing and Gaming.

The Minister for Racing and Gaming appreciates the interest in this new initiative to assist those community members with alcohol-related problems, including violence, and those suffering as a result of these crimes. As members are no doubt aware, there is currently a variety of alcohol restrictions in the north of our state. The Director of Liquor Licensing has imposed restrictions over a number of years in response to evidence by the police and health agencies of harm associated with alcohol and for community wellbeing.

The McGowan government will explore new and evidence-based initiatives to combat violence associated with alcohol and ensure the safety of the community from alcohol-related harm. The banned drinkers register trial in the Pilbara will be the first of its kind in WA and is the culmination of stakeholders working with the government on a more effective way of combating these issues, as part of the west Pilbara plan. The minister has secured the services of the UWA Public Policy Institute to undertake a robust and thorough evaluation of the trial, which will include identifying targets and areas for further research.

(1) The trial is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019.

(2) All towns in the Pilbara will be included in the trial, and all licensed premises that sell takeaway alcohol are expected to participate in the trial. There may be some exceptions to this, depending on the trial's parameters—for example, social and sporting clubs.

(3) The trial will involve the installation of a physical scanning machine that works by cross-referencing photo identification of the customer with a secure data register to determine whether the customer has been prohibited from purchasing takeaway alcohol. The employee will simply receive a red, no service; amber, no service; or green, service as normal, signal to proceed with or deny a sale. A person is likely to be placed on the register if any alcohol-related crime has attracted the attention of the police—for example, assault, driving under the influence, domestic violence et cetera. Licensees will also have a key responsibility to manage temporary prohibitions locally, similar to liquor accords, so that the system can operate in real time. Specific operation of the register requires detailed work, which is currently being undertaken. The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries will maintain a secure register, with limited access to the database.

(4) Community forums have been held in Karratha, Newman and Port Hedland that were free and open to attend, including not-for-profit health and social organisations, local government authorities and licensees. Dedicated licensee meetings were also held to discuss the banned drinkers register and the current restrictions.

The minister's staff and representatives of UWA intend to continue consultations with key stakeholders, including those who work hard in the not-for-profit sector, and licensees, who are integral to the success of the initiative.