Letter From the Shire President

Published on Thursday, 25 May 2023 at 1:15:34 PM

Dear residents,

I’m writing to you all to provide clarity around the perception that the Shire President is responsible and has the authority to apply “Liquor Restrictions” in our town. The Director of Liquor Licencing is responsible for the application of the Liquor Act, therefore is the responsible authority.

Eighteen months ago our community were very vocal in the public arena about the extent of violence, dysfunction and crime in our town and demanding it be rectified. At this time I reached out to the State Government for help on dealing with these complex issues. Since this time, your Shire Council has worked tirelessly and collaboratively with all the State and private agencies engaged in Community support to manage these issues. 

At this time, the Director of Liquor licencing implemented an inquiry into the extent of alcohol-related harm and ill-health occurring in our town. Some of the data collected is quite confronting - for example, for the years 2010-2019 the number of alcohol related deaths in Carnarvon was 151% above the rest of WA. From 2016 – 2020 the rate of alcohol related hospital admissions was 82% higher than the WA State rate! These figures are only a small representation of the overall figures.

With this and the information provided by WA Country Health Service, local Volunteer Ambulance Service, WAPOL and Education providers, the Director of Liquor Licencing concluded that it was highly likely that the rate of alcohol related harm and ill-health in Carnarvon would continue unabated unless there was strong and immediate intervention.

Prior to this intervention (restrictions) being applied, the Carnarvon Liquor Accord were given the opportunity to respond, which I understand members of the Accord did. After consultation with a number of businesses Liquor and tourism related, I also provided a submission based on requests from those businesses.

Contrary to the rumour and innuendo being spread around our town that the Shire President is responsible for the Liquor restrictions. I’m sure you now understand that it was the input of many people and organisations that led to the restrictions being imposed.

Personally, I’m utterly disappointed at the attitude of a small group that put themselves before the overall health and safety of our community and ask that you all be patient, manage your alcohol requirements as the restrictions still allow for a significant quantity of alcohol be attained albeit with some limitation on choice, which I believe is a small price to pay for the benefit the entire community will receive.

You’re invited to meet with me and discuss these changes or issues & ideas you have for our Shire. Please email shire@carnarvon.wa.gov.au to book an appointment.

Eddie Smith

Shire President.

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