Drink Tank

Summer series – Communities vs Woolworths

What do communities in Darwin NT, Maylands WA, Coogee NSW, and Casey Victoria all have in common?

These seemingly unrelated communities in four separate corners of Australia have all battled Woolworths – or are still battling – hell-bent on inflicting an unwanted Dan Murphy booze barn upon them.

The latest battleground and test of people over profits is in Darwin.

As reported by ABC News this week, the community will finally have a chance to raise their objections at a NT Liquor Commission public hearing, to what has been described as a ‘Bunnings for drunks’ from being built.

As the nation’s alcohol, junk food and poker machine behemoth, Woolworths is directly responsible for untold harm in too many Australian communities.

Woolworths targeting a Northern Territory community, already suffering under the weight of alcohol harm, speaks volumes to their blatant disregard for the wellbeing of Australians.

Making sure communities have a say about stopping the rapacious behaviour of Big Alcohol is important to Drink Tank. After all, they are the ones who suffer the consequences of new booze barns and the harm they so often cause.

In today’s Drink Tank Summer Series, we look back at the communities who have challenged Big Alcohol in an effort to keep their communities safe from harm.

City of Casey, Victoria vs Woolworths

The community of Casey in Victoria had long a long drawn out court battle with Woolworths arguing that the area was already saturated with alcohol stores and experiencing high rates of domestic violence. Ultimately they would lose with the court ruling that planning laws, as constituted, required community wellbeing to take a back seat to commercial interests.

Coogee, New South Wales vs Woolworths

In Coogee, the judge couldn’t find a conclusive correlation between domestic violence as a consequence of the consumption of alcohol despite the mountain of evidence. Woolworth’s farcically sprouting improved vibrancy and amenity in the area thanks to the grog superstore. The truth being Woolworths is only concerned with the ‘vibrancy’ of its own balance sheets, and the ‘amenity’ of its own commercial interests.

Maylands, West Australia vs Woolworths

The Maylands community in WA is one of the lucky ones to escape Woolworth’s harm-causing intentions. In the Maylands battle, the WA Liquor Commission sensibly found “the introduction of a Dan Murphy’s store is likely to lead to an increase in the consumption of alcohol … and an increase in the levels of harm and ill-health”. But Woolworth’s litigious nature and deep pockets mean the community must sit and wait to see if they will be forced back to court.


Drink Tank aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.

Our goal is for the Drink Tank community to engage in robust discussion about alcohol, highlighting a broad spectrum of views and voices, and ultimately to raise the profile of alcohol as an issue of national importance.

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