Carnarvon community pleased with State Government expanding banned drinkers register, but say more can be done

Jessica MoroneyMidwest Times
Scantek's BDR machine, which is used to scan customers’ IDs and ensure they aren't on the banned list.
Camera IconScantek's BDR machine, which is used to scan customers’ IDs and ensure they aren't on the banned list. Credit: Shire of Broome/RegionalHUB

The Carnarvon community has praised the State Government for expanding an amended banned drinkers register to the crime-fuelled town, following a visit from Premier Mark McGowan in February.

Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby announced last week that “immediate steps” would be taken to expand the “strengthened” and “mandatory” register, which would allow police and the courts to register individuals for alcohol-fuelled violence and drink driving, as well as offences that occur in or near licensed premises.

The current voluntary register will be rolled out in Carnarvon, until legislation is passed for the changes to come into effect.

Al’s Bottlemart manager Nathan Condo said it was a positive enforcement and believed most customers would be understanding of the changes.

“It’s something that we’re all for, if it reduces the amount of trading days we’re being restricted by and it’s punishing people who are doing the wrong thing, not the rest of the community that are doing the right thing,” he said.

“You have to try something. It was a big song and dance over something we were all in agreement on.”

A spokesperson for BWS said a BDR in Carnarvon was welcomed.

“BWS fully supports the extension of the trial of the banned drinkers register to Carnarvon and will take all necessary steps, including further training of team members, to ensure it complies with it in its strengthened format,” they said.

Carnarvon Shire president Eddie Smith said he believed the BDR should reduce alcohol-fuelled crime in the town as long it was managed well and applied fittingly.

“I think it’s just one tool of many that are going to be required to deal with the problems we have here in Carnarvon. I commend the Government for putting it in place and I believe it will help,” he said.

“I think police and liquor outlets know most people pretty well and will be able to implement that.”

After Mr McGowan indicated his Government would consider broader restrictions on takeaway sales, Cr Smith said more needed to be done in Carnarvon and other parts of regional WA but he opposed a blanket ban on alcohol as it would “divide the town even more”.

Member for North West Central, who is also the Port Hotel owner, Merome Beard said the BDR was one of the strategies required to find a holistic solution in Carnarvon and hoped it would be extended throughout other areas of the State.

“It’s a good thing that’s finally come to fruition,” she said.

“Having said that the devil will be in the detail as to what that looks like when the legislation is put forward.

“When it’s rolled out in an amended format, they’ll need to ensure there are wrap-around services that support that register.”

Ms Beard said another option to decrease the “dysfunction and neglect of the children” in Carnarvon would be a safe house for juveniles between 11pm and 7am to keep them off the streets, give them a meal and offer them a place to sleep.

Mid West Gascoyne Police Supt Steve Post welcomed the Government’s announcement to expand the BDR to Carnarvon.

“This capability will contribute to a number of initiatives the district leadership group are working on for the people of Carnarvon. Every little thing we do in Carnarvon will hopefully make a positive difference,” he said.

“Working together with the licensees in town, the initiative will help us to reduce alcohol-related harm in the community and over time make Carnarvon a better place to live.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails