DECISION OF DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING
SECTION 64 INQUIRY
This decision relates to the inquiry that commenced on 7 October 2003 and included a hearing at
the Halls Creek Court House on 3 November 2003. The purpose of the inquiry was to assess the
level of alcohol-related harm occurring and determine whether restrictive conditions should be
imposed on the following two packaged liquor outlets in Halls Creek:
• KIMBERLEY HOTEL (HOTEL LICENCE) 6010016030
• HALLS CREEK STORE (LIQUOR STORE LICENCE) 6030016329
The inquiry was in response to letters of complaint from the Yura Yungi Medical Service; the Halls
Creek Health Service; the licensee of the Kimberley Hotel and a report from the Halls Creek
Police concerning the extent of alcohol related crime occurring in the town.
The scope and purpose of the inquiry was explained to those who attended the Halls Creek Court
House. As further background it was acknowledged that recent Accord meetings in Halls Creek
had supported a range of initiatives, including a new policy to clarify roles and responsibilities of
agencies concerned with the misuse of alcohol; a register of bulk purchases of packaged alcohol
(to prevent sly grogging); training and education on alcohol laws; specific alcohol-related harm
data to be obtained to support resource allocation. Several liquor restrictions had also been
proposed, including a ban on the sale of all cask wine (including port wine casks); and the sale of
alcohol on Thursdays to be confined to low strength alcohol only.
However, as these proposals were of a voluntary and preliminary nature only, further evidence
and suggestions for reducing the extent of alcohol related harm were invited from the inquiry
participants (over 50 people attended). After the inquiry, the key proposals were summarised and
circulated to all licensees and participants for further response.
Cases referred to in decision:
• Nippon Inn The Club & Tokyo Joes The Club (Greaves J), LLC 08/00, 10 August 2000
• Executive Director of Health v Lily Creek International Pty Ltd (Ipp J)  WASCA 258
• Executive Director of Public Health v Lily Creek International Pty Ltd & Ors (Wheeler J) 
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 2
1. LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS – SECTION 64 INQUIRY
The primary objects of the Liquor Licensing Act 1988 (“the Act”) are specified under section
5(1) as follows:
(a) to regulate the sale, supply and consumption of liquor; and
(b) to minimise harm or ill health caused to people, or any group of
people, due to the use liquor.”
The licensing authority has wide discretion to impose conditions in order to minimise harm or
ill-health caused to people, or any group of people, due to the use of liquor.
The following sections 64(3)(ca), (cb), (cc), (e), (ga) & (gb) of the Act are cornerstone
provisions for this inquiry:
"(3) Without derogating from the generality of the discretion conferred on the licensing
authority, the licensing authority may impose conditions which it considers to be in
the public interest or which it considers desirable in order to —
(ca) ensure that liquor is sold and consumed in a responsible manner;
(cb) ensure that all persons involved in conducting business under the licence
have suitable training for attaining the primary objects of this Act;
(cc) minimise harm or ill-health caused to people, or any group of people, due to
the use of liquor;
(e) limit –
(i) the kinds of liquor that may be sold;
(ii) the manner in which or the containers, or number or types of
containers, in which liquor may be sold;
(iii) the days on which, and the times at which, liquor may be sold;
(ga) prohibit promotional activity in which drinks are offered free or at reduced
prices, or limit the circumstances in which this may be done;
(gb) prohibit any practices which encourage irresponsible drinking…"
2. POLICE EVIDENCE OF ALCOHOL RELATED HARM
Senior Sergeant Greatwood reported that alcohol abuse is clearly evident in Halls Creek and
the situation is of concern for Halls Creek Police Officers. Police statistics over the last few
years indicate that charge numbers are increasing despite the coordinated efforts of all
agencies in Halls Creek responsible for addressing alcohol related issues and harm.
The following extracts have been quoted from Senior Sergeant Greatwood’s report:
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 3
“…The harm caused by alcohol also flows into nearby remote communities that
experience “grog running” and there is an ever increasing trend to consume alcohol
despite clear community bylaws and understanding that people still desire communities to
be “alcohol free” areas. Alcohol related issues, crime and anti social behaviour trends
have increased over the past few years and the problem is getting worse…
…This report will provide clear evidence about the harm that alcohol is causing in Halls
Creek derived from statistics gathered at Halls Creek Police Station. Further it will provide
evaluation of current restrictions in place in Halls Creek that are believed to have
contributed to reducing the effects of alcohol related harm on individuals…
ALCOHOL AS A CAUSAL FACTOR
Alcohol Vs Non-Alcohol Related Jobs Attended by Halls Creek Police from Jan 1, 2003 to Oct
16, 2003 (YTD)
99 97 97
100 95 96 94
87 86 86
80 73 71
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Percentage of incidents attended by Police that are alcohol related
During the period 1 January 2003 to 16 October 2003, Halls Creek Police attended a total
of 1649 complaints. A total of 827 were the direct result of alcohol consumption. This
equates to 50.15% of all complaints being alcohol related.
The stated percentage is considered by Police to be extremely conservative. While
undertaking the task of data gathering the only complaints linked to alcohol were those
clearly stating that alcohol was involved. These complaints included those relating to drink
driving, assaults, domestic violence, liquor offences and disturbances.
They do not include complaints attended such as burglary and stealing, where the
offender was under the influence of alcohol or where acquiring alcohol was the nature of
the complaint. It should be noted that there was a reduction in the number of complaints
received in September as liquor restrictions were in place during that month.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 4
441 422 448
533 534 541
2000 2001 2002 2003
Yearly breakdown of charges into alcohol and non-alcohol related to Oct 03
Many complaints result in charges being preferred against an offender. This is another
method of evaluating the percentage of charges that again relate directly to alcohol
In 2000, 533 charges out of 974 were alcohol related. This equates to 54.7%
In 2001, 534 charges out of 956 were alcohol related. This equates to 55.8%
In 2002, 727 charges out of 1410 were alcohol related. This equates to 51.5%
To Oct 2003, 541 charges out of 989 were alcohol related. This equates to 54.7%.
An average of 54.2% of all charges relate directly to alcohol since 2000…
Halls Creek CPS Charges from January 2000 to August 2003
Consume Liquor in Comm
No Mdl (Never Held)
No MDL ( Cancelled )
No MDL (Suspended)
Re-enter Licensed Premises
Possess Prohibited drug
Escape Legal Custody
Convey Passenger in rear of
Enter prohibited land
Breach of CBO
Breach of VRO
Breach of Bail
Breakdown of all charges January 2000 to August 2003
The above graph shows that there is a clear distinction that alcohol related offences result
in the most charges being preferred. During the data collection period, four of the highest
six frequent offences relate directly to alcohol.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 5
These are Disorderly Conduct, Street Drinking, Drink Driving and Assault. These four
offences relate to 1741 charges of the total 3518 for the total period. This equates to
Year l y B r eak down of F i v e A l coh ol R el at ed Ch ar ges 2003 Ytd
t o S ept ember 2 0 0 3 Li near (2000)
163 168 162
122 128 127
68 65 68
Dr i nk Dr i vi ng Publ i cDr i nki ng As s aul t er
Di sor d l y Conduct Li cPr emOf f ences
Yearly breakdown of Street Drinking, Public Drinking, Assault, Disorderly Conduct and licensed premises offences.
Drink Driving Charges
The number of drivers being detected under the influence of alcohol is increasing. In
2002, a total of 163 drivers were charged with drink driving offences. In 2001 only 122
people were charged with similar offences. This equates to an increase of 33.6%...
Over the past few years a move has been made for Police to issue Liquor Infringements
to people drinking in public places in an effort to streamline paperwork processes. It has
been clearly identified that the issuing of Liquor Infringements does not deter the repetition
of the offence of street drinking. Further many of these infringements are not paid…
Liquor Infringements Issued at Halls Creek from Jan 2000 to
100 19 13 8 2 2 1 1 1
Breakdown of Liquor Infringements issued Jan 2000 to Dec 2002
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 6
One of the greatest concerns to Halls Creek Police is the current rising trend for alcohol
affected people to assault each other. Many of these results relate directly to domestic
violence situations. In September 2003, there were three deaths related directed to
domestic violence assaults and alcohol consumption .Assaults are steadily on the
In 2000, 68 charges were preferred for assault.
In 2001, 106 charges were preferred for assault. A rise of 55.8%.
In 2002, 127 charges were preferred for assault. Another rise of 19.8%
or 75.6% over 2000 figures….
Disorderly Conduct has been the most frequently preferred charge in Halls Creek over the
past four years. These offences are often committed adjacent to licensed premises and
are the most disruptive to the community of Halls Creek.Disorderly Conduct charges
remain high however the year 2000 realised the highest number of charges being
preferred against individuals with a total of 195 charges being preferred. 2001 and 2002
figures were similar with 159 charges being preferred. 2003 figures are expected to be
similar as 2001 and 2002 with 108 charges having been preferred in the first two-thirds of
the year. The level of Disorderly Conduct in the community remains high despite the fact
that several agencies have made positive change to the community by addressing social
gambling and camping in prominent areas around town.
Licensed Premises Offences.
The graph shows that offences at or adjacent to licensed premises are clearly on the rise.
In 1999 just 108 charges related to incidents adjacent to licensed premises. In 2000 this
figure rose to 162. The equates to a 50% increase. In 2001, 268 charges were adjacent
to licensed premises. Another increase of 60.45%. In 2002, a total of 361 charges were
preferred. An increase of 34.7%. Up until September 2003 a total of 263 charges have
been preferred. An estimated adjusted figure for the year will be 350+. Results similar to
2002. The rise from 108 charges in 1999 to 361 in 2002 equates to a rise of 234% of
charges preferred at or adjacent to licensed premises in the past four years…
Summary of Anti-Social Behaviour Offences (Disorderly Conduct, Street drinking
Of concern to Police is that current Police resources are insufficient to adequately address
the issue of anti-social behaviour in Halls Creek. Although Police commit most resources
into this area it is evident that Police are struggling to address the sheer level of offending.
In an effort to display the gravity of the alcohol related issues in Halls Creek Police have
conducted three “Operations” to tackle the issues of street drinking, disorderly conduct
and other anti-social behaviour activities. Many of these other issues relate to youth
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 7
roaming the streets at night while parents consume liquor at home and at licensed
Sober Up Shelter Admissions
Halls Creek Sobre-Up Shelter Admissions from 1/7/2002 to 20/6/2003
JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE
Monthly Breakdown of Sober Up Shelter Admissions
This graph clearly shows that Sober Up Shelter Admissions are steadily on the increase.
Admissions in July and September 2002 were under 100 per month. In November 2002
through to February 2003 admission increased over 50% to amounts in excess of 150
people per month. While this dropped in March 2003 back to over 100, May saw this rise
dramatically to almost 250 admissions that month or 150% more than earlier that year.
MINIMISING THE HARM CAUSED BY ALCOHOL
Although the consequences of alcohol abuse have a significant impact on Police
resources and crime statistics, the problem is not only a policing issue. Alcohol abuse is a
social issue that needs to have a whole-of-community approach to minimise the harm
being caused by alcohol. The community of Halls Creek have recognised that a whole-of-
community approach is needed and on March 26, 2003, through the Halls Creek Safer
WA Committee, began to address alcohol related issues by recommencing the Halls
Creek Alcohol Accord…
Alcohol Accord Recommendations
Items documented for progression by the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord are:
1. Draft a Policy document to clarify roles of relevant agencies regarding alcohol,
encourage a prevention strategy and management plan. To include statements:
Regarding support of employers implementing workplace policies and referral for
alcohol problems and strategies in the workplace at a local level.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 8
That the town requests that visitors comply with the Accord.
That the Accord supports locally developed solutions to local issues where
2. Set up a register of bulk purchases of packaged alcohol for prevention of sly grogging.
3. Provide training and education to bar staff and the community re alcohol laws.
4. Explore the collection of relevant specific alcohol related harm data for:
• Notifying government of ongoing need for enough staff /resources to work
proactively in education, counselling, community
• Statistical collection for planning, evidence and justification purposes.
5. Set up voluntary restrictions in response to community concern.
6. Implement initiatives to support the prevention of access to alcohol by underage youth.
7. Assist with raising awareness of available counselling service/resources
Raising awareness at existing contact points
Develop local education materials regarding services
8. Address street drinking
More relevant legislation
Agreed attractive drinking areas
9. Take a proactive role in both initiating and supporting community activities that provide
alternatives to drinking and build community pride, drawing on Community Elder
10. Liaise/communicate with RoadWise and collaborate where appropriate
11. Implement initiatives to reduce litter
12. Evaluation of Accord initiatives
13. Promote the Accord positively in order to contribute to creating a more positive image
of Halls Creek
The first five items were selected to be addressed as priorities. Each of these items are
now being progressed by sub-committees of the Accord…
CURRENT VOLUNTARY AND LICENSING RESTRICTIONS
1) The sale of packaged liquor is prohibited on any day prior to 12.00 noon. (Except if
2) The sale of wine by the cask is restricted to between 4pm and 6pm.
3) Casks may only be sold one per person. (Except if taken 20kms).
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 9
4) Kimberley Hotel :
• No more than six pack of beer or UDL after 9pm.
• Live music to stop at 11pm.
• Not to open before 11am.
2. Kimberley Hotel
• 12 x 4litre casks per day only from November 2002 to September 2003
• No cask wine sales after September 2003
• No fortified wine sales since 1998
• Thursday – Medium strength drinks only to 5pm.
• ½ Cartons only after 5pm Thursdays
• 375ml bottles of spirits only between 5pm and 9pm Thursdays
1) Halls Creek Store
• Trading hours 12 noon to 6pm Monday-Saturday
• Thursday – Medium strength drinks only to 5pm.
• After 5pm usual trading including cask wine and fortified
• ½ Cartons only after 5pm Thursdays
Issues With Current Restrictions
The current restrictions in Halls Creek, while considered to be working, do not totally
address the issue of rising anti-social behaviour. The following issues are raised by
Police for consideration:
1. The availability of cask wine and fortified liquor is of concern to Police. Both of
these forms of liquor are cheap and have the highest harmful effects upon
individuals. Police submit this type of liquor should be banned. This included both
two and four litre cask wine and the 750ml bottle of fortified liquor (port) currently
2. 5pm Thursdays are seen as a “Binge Drinking Session”. People wait until 5pm to
buy their full strength takeaways and then rapidly consume them. For the
restriction to be successful Police submit it needs to be a full day restriction.
Further there should be consideration to extending this restriction to other days of
3. Each night there is a “Onflow migration” effect whereby those consuming alcohol
outside the corner store move to the area opposite the hotel at 6pm in an effort to
continue to drink takeaways. The harmful effects of cask wine and fortified liquor
they have been consuming since 4pm commences to have an impact upon
Policing as early as 6pm. This has resulted in the closure of the Kimberley Hotel
on a voluntary basis on numerous occasions.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 10
4. The people remain in the area adjacent to the Kimberley Hotel after 6pm as they
can still obtain takeaways despite being intoxicated. There needs to be a further
restriction of take away sales after 6pm to prevent the “Onflow” effect.
5. Statistics support Thursday, with mid strength drinks only to 5pm, as being
effective in reducing the number of complaints attended and charges preferred by
Police and the restrictions on Thursday need to be considered on other days.
6. Any restrictions imposed need to be conditions imposed upon licences as not all
licensees have agreed to support the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord.
The Halls Creek Alcohol Accord discussed further restrictions at the workshop held on
August 13, 2003. The following information is a summary of the outcomes of the
The Sale of Light Drinks (-3.5% alc/vol) Thursdays.
The implementation of lights drinks on Thursday for the entire day and night is seen as a
very positive restriction, with the potential of significantly reducing alcohol related harm.
Wednesday and Thursday are the most accepted days of the week for family and pension
payments. Having the light sales only when money is available results in less harm being
caused to individuals. It is evident that those “At Risk” people will spend the money on
alcohol regardless of the type available, therefore it is of benefit to have only light drinks
available on payment days.
Further, not having the attraction of full strength alcohol, results in more money being
spent on food supplies, benefiting families and individuals.
Also considered by the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord was to have an alcohol free day on
Sundays. Although this licensing restriction has the potential of being the most beneficial,
it is also the condition that has the strongest opposition from some sectors of the
community. The opposition centres on the feeling that the majority are being penalised for
the behaviour of a minority. While this is a true statement it is also true to say that these
people will be “prepared” for the alcohol free day, while those “At risk” generally do not
have the ability to forward plan.
Any implementation of light alcohol days or alcohol free days provides a control day for
future evaluation to measure the effectiveness of restrictions during any trial period.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 11
Restriction of Type and Quantity of Alcohol Sold
The greatest alcohol related harm caused to individuals can be measured by “Standard
Drinks”. The highest dollar value for “Standard Drinks” is clearly in sales of cheap wines
and fortified liquor (Port).
A four litre cask of wine contains 38 standard drinks for the cost of $18.00. A value of 47
cents per standard drink.
A block of full strength beer (30 cans) contains 45 standard drinks but costs around
$45.00. This equates to $1 per standard drink.
This clearly shows that cheap cask wines cause around twice the harm to individuals than
beer. The cost per standard drink of fortified liquor (port) is about the same as cask wine.
Cask wine and port are the preferred drink of many “At Risk” people in Halls Creek
therefore it is recommended by Police and the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord that they be
removed from sale in Halls Creek.
Any restrictions should include ALL CASK wine and ALL FORTIFIED wine.
Special Case Exemptions
Current exemptions allow for tourists and other people who are travelling outside a 20km
radius of Halls Creek to purchase all alcohol.
This issue was raised at the Accord workshop and 18 out of 20 people voted that
restrictions should apply to everyone.
Should these exemptions continue it is clear that the onus for responsible service lies with
Licensees and all ‘special case exemptions’ should be documented and forwarded to
Police for review and audit to ensure the spirit of the restrictions are being adhered to. In
dubious cases, Licensees should be encouraged to consult with Police in the decision
…The Accord has spent a great deal of time consulting with the public to ensure that any
steps taken are appropriate to the views of the community as a whole.
Despite this the lack of Legislative Support allows opportunity to licensees and managers
not to support the Accord. It is evident that without the support of licensees Accords will
struggle to ensure the responsible sale and consumption of liquor.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 12
In October 2003 the licensee of the Halls Creek Corner Store wrote to the Halls Creek
Alcohol Accord and advised that they will not become a member of the Accord. This lack
of participation will severely restrict the success of the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord in
achieving its aim of reducing alcohol related harm in Halls Creek.
It is important that evaluation occurs to ensure that liquor sales restrictions are effective. If
evaluation shows that restrictions are not effective then consideration can be made to
amending restrictions to ensure they remain effective.
Most restrictions currently in place in Halls Creek relate to sales on Thursdays. There are
no full strength drinks available until after 5pm and further cask wine and port cannot be
purchased until 5pm when this occurs at 4pm on every other day. It is relevant to
therefore compare Thursdays to all other days when cask wine and port is available at
4pm and also full strength beer is available all day from 11am at the bar at the Kimberley
Hotel and 12 noon at Halls Creek Corner Store.
Alcohol V Non-Alcohol Related Jobs Attended by Halls Creek Police
Jan 1, to Oct 16, 2003
Day Of Week
140 127 125
124 123 122
120 107 106
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Alcohol Related Non-Alcohol Related
Daily breakdown of complaints January 2003 to September 2003..
It can be clearly seen in this graph that Thursdays are the second quietest day of the
week for the number of complaints received at Halls Creek Police Station. Only 82
complaints have been made on Thursdays this year.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 13
This represents just 9.9% of all alcohol related complaints received this year. Further it is
only 46% of complaints received on Saturday night and 53% of complaints on Friday
nights. Clearly restrictions that allow for only light alcohol sales on Thursdays prevent an
average of 50% of complaints being received by Police.
It is suggested that similar restrictions could be considered on other days of the week.
The above graph shows that Sunday is the quietest day and it should be noted that the
Halls Creek Corner Store is closed on this day and trading hours at the Kimberley Hotel
are restricted to generally 12 noon to 6pm only.
Saturday is displayed as the busiest day, however Police submit that this is because
complaints received after 12 midnight on Friday are recorded as Saturday Complaints.
Police submit that Friday is by far the busiest night of the week.
Summary and Evaluation of Kimberley Hotel Offences 2002
All Offences Committed In or Adjacent to the Kimberley Hotel for
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Daily breakdown of charges Kimberley Hotel in 2002.
Police submit that most alcohol related offences occur outside the Kimberley Hotel in
Halls Creek. Police do acknowledge however that the alcohol consumed by these people
is obtained both from the Hotel and also the Corner Store and it is the “Onflow” from one
licensed premises to the other at 6pm that results in these offences being committed at
the Kimberley Hotel…
Police Introduced Restrictions
In September 2003, four serious alcohol related incidents occurred in Halls Creek
resulting in deaths. On September 16, 2003, Police approached licensed premises to
invoke restrictions as two deaths had occurred within two days of each other.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 14
After agreement by licensees the following restrictions were applied for the benefit of the
Halls Creek Community
Tuesday, September 16,2003 – Light and Mid Strength Beers Only. No port, cask wine or
full strength beer throughout the day.
Wednesday - Light and Mid Strength Beers Only. No port, cask wine or full strength beer
throughout the day.
Thursday - Light and Mid Strength Beers Only. No port, cask wine or full strength beer
throughout the day. At 5pm 6 packs of full strength beer and UDL mixes were permitted.
Friday - Full strength beer and UDL mixes to a maximum of 6 cans per person. No port
or cask wine sales.
Saturday - Full strength beer and mixes to a maximum of 12 cans per person. No port or
cask wine sales.
Sunday Full strength beer to a maximum of 12 cans per person. No port or cask wine
The week prior to this period was usual trading and the week after was also usual trading.
This allowed for evaluation of this period when restrictions were put in
Restriction Data - Three Week Period Sept 2003
4 3 3 3 33 3 3
2 2 22 2 2 2 2 2
2 1 1 1 1 1
0 0 00 0 0 0
ne y S 14
ne y S 21
Se t 9
Su ay S t 12
W es Se 3
nd Se 9
W es Se 0
Su ay S t 26
Fr y S 10
Fr y S 17
Fr y S 24
Tu ay pt 1
Tu ay pt 2
Th day ep
Sa day pt
Sa ay t
Sa day pt
ed da pt
Th day pt
ed da pt
Th day pt
id e p
ed s d
Daily breakdown of complaints and charges for three week period September 2003
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 15
As can be clearly shown in this graph, when restrictions were imposed on licensed
premises on September 16, 2003, there were no charges preferred for three days and no
complaints were received for two days. This is the period when only light strength beer
was available in Halls Creek. As full strength beer was re-introduced on Thursday
afternoon three complaints were received however no charges were preferred. On Friday
three charges were preferred and three complaints received.
The week prior to restrictions being imposed 24 complaints were received and 9 charges
preferred. The week while restrictions were in place, 10 complaints were received and 8
charges preferred. Of these eight charges only three were alcohol related and were made
for street drinking, assault and threats. The week after restrictions, 19 complaints were
received and 32 charges were preferred. The trend line clearly shows that again
restrictions were effective in reducing complaints and charges.
Evaluation of a 12-month Trial
Should further restrictions be put in place it is essential that a comprehensive evaluation
be conducted of the results over a 12-month trial period. The effect of the licensing
restrictions on crime and antisocial behaviour can be monitored through Police statistical
data and existing information management systems held by agencies such as Halls Creek
Sober Up Shelter and Alcohol Centre. All agencies including Health, Department of
Community Development, Education and community members will be all involved in this
evaluation. It is envisaged that the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord are willing to manage the
Senior Sergeant Greatwood concluded his report by advising that Halls Creek has a
serious problem relating to the level of harm that is being caused by the excessive
consumption of alcohol. The main concern is that the problem seems to be getting worse
as is reflected in the statistics I have provided. Despite the extensive efforts by Police they
are struggling to address these rising trends and pro-active intervention is sought through
the Liquor Licensing Court.
He also stated that the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord had instigated several
recommendations from a Community Consultation Workshop, however, that those
measures will be unsuccessful if restrictions are not put in place to assist their education
and prevention strategies. He expressed the view that minimising alcohol related harm
through reducing specific types of alcohol availability and reducing the amount of alcohol
that can be sold, is an important part of any total harm minimisation strategy.”
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 16
3. EVIDENCE OF HEALTH AGENCIES
3.1. Department of Health – Dr Margaret Stevens, the Executive Director of Public Health,
provided an initial submission in support of liquor restrictions being imposed for Halls
Creek and a response to the proposed restrictions identified after the inquiry hearing.
The following is quoted from Dr Steven’s 30 October 2003 submission:
“…According to the Department of Health (2002a),
‘for the Kimberley Health District, drug-caused deaths accounted for 23.1%
of all deaths between 1992 and 2001. For the same period, the percent of
drug-caused deaths for the State was 19.1%.’
Of these deaths, alcohol accounted for 10.1%, tobacco for 12.3% and other drugs for
0.7%. Between 1992 and 2001, the mortality rate from alcohol in the Kimberley Health
District was significantly higher than the overall mortality rate from alcohol in Western
Australia. In the Kimberley Health District in this ten year period, there were 138
deaths attributable to alcohol, of which 56 (40.5%) were the result of assaults, falls,
other alcohol-related injuries, road injuries and suicide (Department of Health,
…Between 1992 and 2001, the rate of alcohol-related deaths was significantly higher
for both Aboriginal males and females compared to the non-Aboriginal population in
the East Kimberley area…
…For the Kimberley Health District, between 1998 and 2002, alcohol was responsible
for the highest annual number of hospital discharges of all drug-caused hospital
The average annual number of hospital discharges caused by alcohol was
633 (5.8%), tobacco was 264 (2.4%) and other drugs was 62 (0.6%)’
(Department of Health, 2003a.
During his 5-year period, the observed number of hospital discharges for alcohol
reflected a local rate higher than the State rate (Department of Health, 2003a). There
were 3166 hospital discharges for Kimberley Health District residents attributable to
alcohol; 1973 (59.1%) were the result of assaults, falls, other alcohol-related injuries,
road injuries and suicide (Department of Health, 2003a…
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 17
…In 2001, the cost of alcohol-related hospitalisation in the Kimberley Health Region
was $40.55 per capita, which was 238% of the cost for the State ($17.01 per capita)
(Drug and Alcohol Office and Department of Health, 2003)…
…In the Halls Creek Shire, the per capita consumption in the year 2000/2001 was
15.5 litres of total alcohol (aged 15+ years) and in the year 2001/2002 was 14.15 litres
of total alcohol per capita (aged 15+ years). Per capita alcohol consumption in the
Halls Creek Shire was 1.4 times higher than the State per capita consumption of 11.09
litres in 2000/01 and 1.25 times higher than the State per capita consumption of 11.31
litres in 2001/02. (Catalano, 2003 unpublished).
The large alcohol consumption in the Kimberley Health Region is paralleled by a large
number of alcohol-related assaults. Between 1998 and 2002, there were 606 hospital
discharges for assaults in males and 738 hospital discharges for assaults in females,
accounting for 32.6% and 56% respectively of all alcohol-related hospital discharges
of Kimberley Health District residents (Department of Health, 2003)…
…Taking into account the already unacceptable level of alcohol consumption and
alcohol-related assaults in the Kimberley Health Region, including Halls Creek it is
clear that imposing the proposed initiatives, including restrictions on the sale of
packaged liquor would assist in minimising the high consumption and rates of alcohol
related violence/assaults. In turn, this could subsequently lead to decreased
hospitalization and deaths.”
3.2. Kimberley Population Health Unit - Ms Gloria Sutherland, Director of the Kimberley
Population Health Unit advised that her organization is generally supportive of the
proposed conditions. Some of the more noteworthy changes suggested were:
“The sale of all cask wine and all port is to be prohibited…
Restricting the sale of alcohol on two days per week would allow more of an
opportunity for people to have a break from the constant alcohol consumption, for
children to be provided food and for chronic drinkers to learn to drink more
responsibly. These days do not need to be consecutive…
Llicensees and shire are to consider and implement a can buy-back scheme,
including the purchase of can crushing equipment, and report progress to this
authority within 3 months of the date of decision. This should be a joint initiative with
both licensees participating on an equal share basis…
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 18
Each licensee is to prepare and implement a strategy whereby the sale of beer in
glass stubbies and Ready to Drink (RTDs) in glass bottles is reduced by 50% over a
six month period...
The voluntary Liquor Accord in Halls Creek is not working as effectively as it should.
Therefore, this should be imposed as a condition of licence to ensure greater
participation on and successful achievements for the Accord…
Licensees to maintain a register of bulk purchases of packaged alcohol to prevent sly
This be placed as a condition on the licence rather than a complementary measure…
A new policy to clarify roles and responsibilities of agencies – the Kimberley
Population Health Unit has already progressed the development of the new Halls
Creek Accord policy document. The Drug and Alcohol Office have been supportive of
3.3 Halls Creek Health Service - Ms Sue Langdon, the Acting District Manager advised that
during the period of temporary alcohol restrictions (ie: from 15 September 2003 to
22 September 2003), the Halls Creek Health service experienced a significant difference
in alcohol related presentations to the hospital. During the most recent period, there
were 3 intoxicated persons presented within the total of 8 alcohol related presentations,
however, during the same period the previous year, there were 13 intoxicated persons
presented for outpatient consultations, with a total of 18 alcohol related presentations.
Hospital staff commented on what a difference the restrictions had made to the whole
community. The lack of blatant drunkenness on the streets, with ensuing screaming and
stumbling and intimidating behaviour of patrons, combined with the quiet evenings,
promoted a general feeling of calm in the town.
4. EVIDENCE – OTHER ORGANISATIONS
4.1. Shire of Halls Creek - Mr Peter McConnell, the Chief Executive Officer of the Shire of
Halls Creek provided the following feedback in his letter of 20 November 2003.
“Council is pleased with the general thrust of the document and is happy to endorse
most of the proposed measures…However, Council would prefer that sales of all
fortified wines be prohibited. There seems little point in prohibiting the sale of port in
casks if it is readily obtainable in bottles.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 19
Similarly, banning port altogether may well create a new demand for sherry. It is also
to be noted that a wine bottle may become a convenient weapon if a fight breaks out…
Council fully supports the concept of a can buy-back scheme….
Council budgeted an amount of $40,000 for this purpose for two consecutive years,
however, these funds were not used as one of the liquor outlets was not interested in
participating in the scheme. Council would still be very keen to support a similar
initiative on these terms…
The issue of the unauthorised drinking of packaged liquor is common in nearby streets
and on airport land. Police tell us that they do not have the resources to control this
illegal activity with any degree of consistency. We consider it to be imperative that a
controlled outdoor drinking area, with lawns, be established in a place adjacent to the
Hotel and maintained by the Hotel. Council would be happy to consider supplying
Shire land for the purpose, subject to a suitable agreement being reached with the
Council is generally supportive of a trial of low strength beer sales, with restricted
quantities and opening hours, coupled with an education program, somewhere in the
Kutjunka region. However, we do not believe that Balgo is the appropriate place to
make such a trial at the present…
What we would prefer as an alternative, is that each of the other major communities in
the region be approached to see if they would support such a trial on or near their
4.2. Yura Yungi Medical Community - Mr John Green, Chairperson of the Yura Yungi
Medical Community advised in his letter of 22 September 2003:
“You would be aware that:
1. Major incidents occurred in Halls Creek in recent weeks that appear to be alcohol
2. Temporary alcohol restrictions were put in place to assist reducing the cycle of
3. An Alcohol Accord documentation and validation process for Halls Creek is
currently underway, but not yet completed.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 20
In the past week, Yura Yungi committee and staff have noted a major and remarkable
decrease in drunkenness and disturbances that usually occur with the excess
consumption of alcohol in Halls Creek. The Sobering Up Shelter has dropped
numbers to one or two persons per night, instead of 10-15 in a drinking night.
Unfortunately, we believe once the restrictions are lifted, the disturbing behaviour will
The grossly excessive alcohol consumption in Halls Creek is a key factor
complicating health and social issues in Halls Creek… ”
It should be noted that the Yura Yungi Medical Community has previously expressed the
view that all takeaways should cease in Halls Creek.
4.3. Warmun Community - Messrs Doug Macale and John Echo of the Warmun Community,
Turkey Creek, advised in their letter of 20 November 2003:
“As you will appreciate, the Warmun community, like many other remote Aboriginal
communities, continues to struggle with the problems associated with alcohol abuse.
We will also continue seeking to find solutions that may bring positive the change that
we desperately need if we wish to remain a strong community, and it is these types of
community driven strategies and incentives that will help us find these solutions…”
4.4. Jungarni-Jutiya Alcohol Action Council Aboriginal Corporation - The leaders of this
community included the following key points in their submission of 26 November 2003:
‘The complementary measure regarding the “Sly Grogging Hotline” as offered in
Queensland is an excellent suggestion…
In relation to your proposed trial for an extended trading permit in Balgo Hills, we must
register our total objection to this proposal…Remembering that Jungarni-Jutiya
operates this centre here in Halls Creek as a drop in facility for people with Alcohol
related issues in their lives. Our daily client statistics are around the forty clients per
day, most of whom are from the outer communities. Without exception, all clients
expressed displeasure at having alcohol sales available in Balgo Hills….. Such as the
Balgo Community is, the feeling that is expressed is that they want their homelands to
be alcohol free. Furthermore, the impression is that this is another decision that is
taken away from them, further lessening their right to self-determination. They will
then have to live with the consequences of this unwelcome imposition.”
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 21
4.5. Pastoralists & Graziers Association (PGA), Kimberley Division - Mrs Ruth Webb-
Smith, Chairman of PGA expressed the following reservations in her letter of 6 November
“Any further restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Halls Creek is an impost on
pastoralists for the following reasons:
1. Travelling to town to pick up supplies is restricted by weather, roads, working
conditions, stock movements and flexible time constraints that depend on the
above. Therefore imposing an impracticable time for alcoholic purchases will have
2. It will be impossible to purchase alcoholic supplies in such a limited timeframe thus
forcing pastoral industry people to seek supplies away from the town causing a
loss of income to the town.
3. Purchases of other stores will also be diverted away from the town.
4. The town will be less inviting to visit due to restrictions.
5. The inconvenience to people and the taking away of civil liberties to a particular
group is not a fair and equitable outcome.
6. As history has shown, virtual prohibition promotes crime. Use of alternative
substances such as petrol sniffing and drugs will be the probable outcome…”
5. LICENSEES’ SUBMISSIONS
5.1. Halls Creek Liquor Store - Mr Gavin Crocket, special counsel, representing the licensee
of the Halls Creek Liquor Store, provided a comprehensive analysis of the evidence
submitted during the inquiry and several submissions in response. The following are key
extracts quoted from his submissions:
“It is submitted, at the commencement of the November Inquiry, the ambit nature of
the inquiry, was not explained to participants. (NB: the licensee or its representative,
failed to attend the inquiry) It assumed the inquiry was “triggered” by two deaths in
Halls creek caused in the month of October, both of the deaths arose from domestic
arguments between male and female. In each incident the females stabbed the two
males, with the result, each male died.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 22
It is also understood the November Inquiry could have arisen by complaints made to
the Licensing Authority by the Yura Yungi Medical Service, the Halls Creek Health
Service and the Kimberley Hotel, together with a report by the Police. It seems the
complaints related to “alcohol-related” matters in Halls Creek.
The November Inquiry decision needs to be formulated from the evidence at the
inquiry because the conditions which ought to attach to the liquor licence must arise
from the determination or decision of the Director once he has formulated his views
arising from bona fide findings of fact.
It is for these reasons, the November Inquiry appears to have fundamental defects
which impinge upon the rights of the Liquor Store and which rights could be watered
down by conditions which may be imposed on the licence ie: the effect of the decision
or determination to be made from the November Inquiry will have a deleterious effect
on the liquor store both from:
(a) its ability to trade as a competitive business;
(b) the ability to compete with other businesses;
(c) the ability to provide a full and adequate range of liquor products to the general
(d) the ability to trade permitted hours which would allow the general public, including
tourists, pastoralists, station owners, local residents, etc. to avail themselves to a
facility in the town of Halls Creek;
(e) its ability to continue as a viable and profitable business….
In order to achieve a balance between the various objects of the Act and minimising
liquor related harm, careful consideration needs to be given to the interests of the
community as a whole. These criteria to be looked at are articulated by Professor
Stockwell in Volume 5 ‘Alcohol Misuse and Violence’ at page 303. These issues are:
Other community needs and concerns to which liquor legislation must pay heed
• the desire of the majority of adult Australians to enjoy access to their favourite
• the need to foster a stable and profitable retail alcohol industry;
• the need to foster and support tourism;
• the right of residents to the peaceful enjoyment of their neighbourhood; and
• the need for governments to collect taxes….
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 23
There are great benefits from achieving the correct balance and also great costs for
failing to do so…
Professor Stockwell in his deliberations has formulated the view that “the
responsibility for minimising the harm associated with alcohol use cannot be
placed entirely on any single group in society whether this be the liquor
industry, the police, health departments, individual drinkers, liquor licensing
authorities or local communities”….
(a) The Shire of Halls Creek has a population of approximately 3,000-4,000 people.
(b) The town of Halls Creek has a significant tourist trade with more than half a million
people visiting the town annually.
(c) The town of Halls Creek provides retail services for pastoralists and graziers,
station owners, mine site workers, camps and other businesses in the area.
(d) Within the town of Halls Cree there are a minority group of chronic alcoholics,
being in number approximately 50, principally of Aboriginal descent.
(e) Casks of fortified wine and port are available from Kununurra and Wyndham. Both
these places are within 2½ hours driving time from Halls Creek (ie: no prohibition
or conditions on licensees who can sell packaged liquor).
(f) Outside deliveries of liquor into the Halls Creek area are a regular event, and there
is a large contingent of town that orders packaged liquor from Broome. Liquor is
also available by mail order (see website such as Bicton Cellars) and Quaffers,
advertisements, which appear each week in the West Australian.
(g) Many of the chronic alcoholics are persistently banned from the Liquor Store…
(h) The West Australian Article (26 November 2003) suggests, Halls Creek has a
lesser consumption per capita of liquor than Derby and Kununurra (yet more
stringent conditions are sought to be imposed on the licensee’s licences).
(i) The tourists to Halls Creek constitute approximately one third of the trade of the
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 24
(j) There is no empirical evidence to demonstrate that the health of persons at risk
(through the excessive consumption of liquor) has deteriorated in any way since
the conditions were imposed on the Kimberley Hotel’s liquor licence and the Liquor
Store. The limited facts of the inquiry suggest there has been an improvement in
conditions of health related issues.
Host Responsibility and Management of Licensed Premises:
(a) The current licensee has operated the liquor store for the past 30 years and no
formal complaints have ever been made against the licensee’s day to day
operation and management of this liquor store.
(b) Host responsibility is a criteria which management of the liquor store takes
seriously and each of the persons in a position of management were
(c) Management keeps an incident register which register is provided to the police on
a regular basis.
(d) Management persistently and consistently bans many of the chronic alcoholics
from receiving liquor from the store…..
(e) The liquor store has self-regulated its operation of this sale and supply of liquor
imposing its own restrictions to curtail the supply of liquor for the past 3 years.
(f) There exists no evidence which shows a nexus or connection with the liquor store
and the chronic alcoholism which exists in the town (or the anti-social behaviour
which is experienced in Halls Creek from time to time)…
Many of the delinquent drinkers respect the harsh but equitable rules applied by the
owner of the liquor store in its operation. On the other hand, the Kimberley Hotel has
consistently breached the provisions of the Liquor Act (see for example the section
117 complaint and the decision of the Director of Liquor Licensing) and yet no
distinction is drawn between these two liquor outlets vis a vis the sale of packaged
liquor to members of the public. In fact, the opposite would seem to apply, for in the
suggested conditions to be imposed on each of these licenses… the liquor store,
according to the director’s directive, ought to close at 6.00pm, yet the Kimberley
Hotel be permitted to trade until 9.00pm ie: there exists an inequity in these
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 25
Closing at 6.00pm for the liquor store loses about 30% of its trade. At present,
although it closes at 6.00pm, it certainly doesn’t do so when there are special events
or it is required to provide liquor to groups of people who do not fit within “the health
The sale of cask wine and port is popular with tourists, particularly tourists who are
travelling across Australia because:
(a) casks (unlike glass) do not break in the rugged terrain of the Kimberleys;
(b) the cask is easy to store in the vehicle or caravan;
(c) the cask wine is inexpensive and many of the tourists are doing their travelling on
strict financial budgets.
Similarly, people living in work camps (both miners and road workers), pastoralists and
graziers, station owners and the like, are denied a proper range of liquor being
provided in the town of Halls Creek.
The imposition of restrictions on the liquor store licence limits the absolute freedom of
individual drinkers to purchase and consume alcohol of their choice. This situation
creates a tension between individual rights and collective rights.
It follows that the promoting of the rights of a minority group (and in this case, the
Indigenous Aboriginal people), threatens individual human rights and creates an
invidious distinction between citizens.
The Director, in the November Inquiry, in order to ensure equity between competing
interests must service the interests of the tourist industry, the workers in the area, the
local residents, the pastoralists and graziers, the station owners, the commercial
interests of the licensees as well as the collective interests of the diverse community
including the Aboriginal community (with certain minorities who suffer the effects of
excessive alcohol consumption).
In this equation, there exists a conflict between the individual drinker who asserts that
he or she has a right to have access to liquor and other members of the community
who assert a right to be protected from the effects of alcohol abuse and thus require
some limits placed via conditions on the accessibility of liquor…”
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 26
5.2 Kimberley Hotel, Halls Creek
Mr Phillip Laskaris, barrister of Francis Burt Chambers, attended the inquiry hearing in
Halls Creek and submitted the following on behalf of the licensee of the Kimberley
“You are well aware that the Kimberley Hotel, for over 2½ years, has had in place
voluntary restrictions on: (1) the types of liquor sold; (2) the manner in which that liquor
is sold; and (3) the operation (ie: operating hours) of the premises.
Further, as you will be aware from a reading of the letters and documents that you
have gathered as a result of conducting this enquiry, the Kimberley Hotel has been
seeking the assistance/intervention of the licensing authority, the Halls Creek Police
and elected State parliamentary representatives to help with the alcohol abuse related
problems evident in Halls Creek.
Can I suggest to you that it would be appropriate in the handing down of your formal
written decision on this section 64 Inquiry, for you to make mention of the responsible
role that the licensee and management of the Kimberley Hotel has adopted and
consistently sought to maintain in addressing the reality of this community problem…
Both Mr Peirson-Jones and Mr Eagle agree that despite the Kimberley Hotel adopting
a broad range of voluntary restrictions, there is a need for the licensing authority to
impose conditions on all the licensees in Halls Creek so that the voluntary restrictions
that the hotel has put in place exist across the board…
1. Proposed New Conditions – To be Imposed
1. Sale of “Cask Wine and Cask Fortified Port” – For this condition to be effective
it must be made clear that it extends to both 4 and 2 litre casks of wine and
fortified wines in casks or bottles, with the exception of that sold in bulk for
consumption (in restaurants) on licensed premises;
2. Thursday limited 3.5% alcohol or less – Is it correct to assume that this condition
is intended to apply to the sale of packaged liquor only? The licensee of the
Kimberley Hotel disagrees with this condition. It is submitted that instead of low
alcohol days being extended they should be repealed for a number of reasons.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 27
Evidence from the sobering up shelter indicates that Wednesday and Friday are
the days of highest admission, which are the days either side of low alcohol day.
This supports the hotel’s experience that alcoholics save grog from the previous
day or purchase it from the liquor outlets on other than low alcohol days. If they
cannot obtain alcohol, they will binge drink as soon as it is available.
The licensee of the Kimberly Hotel would suggest to you that by removing the
local supply of cask and fortified wines, we will have gone a long way to
removing two of the highest alcohol content beverages available in the town (ie:
the imposition of condition 1 above). The Kimberley Hotel considers that to
impose this further proposed condition would be an unfair restriction on the
majority of the community. Especially if this proposed condition was to apply to
both package and bulk liquor sales. Presently, many workers (across the entire
spectrum of the Halls Creek community) resent not being able to purchase their
preferred drink until after 5.00pm on Thursday. To increase this to all day
unnecessarily penalises those members of the community.
Further, if this condition is proposed to apply to both packaged and bulk liquor
sales, table wines will fall under this condition. It will be unfair on tourists and
people frequenting, not only the Kimberley Hotel restaurant, but presumably
patrons of the Halls Creek Motel as well.
Finances allowing, the licensee of the Kimberley Hotel plans to upgrade the
public and saloon bars of the premises next year. To enforce mid-strength
drinks only on Thursday would effectively kill one day’s trading. This will make
the obtaining of finance for the redevelopment much more difficult and potentially
jeopardise the undertaking of the upgrade.
Originally, when low alcohol Thursday’s were introduced, Social Security
cheques were received on Thursday. However, nowadays payments are made
direct to recipients’ bank accounts on the day of their choosing, therefore
negating the original purpose of the low alcohol day. If certain members of the
community have difficulty in controlling their spending (ie: inappropriate amounts
on alcohol), then the welfare system should consider new ways of distributing
Further restrictions are likely to promote the use of other commonly available but
illegal drugs. Also, this increases the potential for more grog running from
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 28
3. Feasibility of Can Buy Back Scheme – The Kimberley Hotel has previously had
preliminary discussion with the Mr Michael Quall, the CDEP Administrator of
Ngoonjuwah Council re supporting their desire to run a recycling operation.
The Shire of Halls Creek has labour available under their management of local
CDEP program and a suitable depot to carry out the work. The Kimberley
Hotel will continue its discussions with them to bring this project to fruition.
4. Reduction of Sales of Alcohol in Glass Containers – The Kimberley Hotel sells
beer & RTD’s in glass in the cocktail bar for consumption on the licensed
premises. In the saloon bar, a limited amount of beer and RTD’s in glass is
sold as takeaways – but only to people known to the staff who will “take it
away”. It is not in the hotel staff’s interest to have glass containers lying
around in the street where they can be used for missiles or weapons (indeed
on occasion against the licensed premises’ staff). If the licensing authority
decides to proceed with the imposition of this condition, it should be clearly
stated as relating to the sale of packaged liquor for consumption off licensed
2. Existing Voluntary Conditions
1. Sale of Packaged Liquor from Kimberly Hotel after 9.00pm – This condition has
been in place since August 2001.
2. Liquor Store Trading Hours – This condition relates to other licensed premises
which premises sell the overwhelming majority of packaged liquor consumed in
and around Halls Creek.
3. Strategies Identified as Complementary Measures
The management of the Kimberley Hotel will participate in any meeting(s)
called and/or co-ordinated by the Halls Creek Police or any other authority that
the Licensing Authority suggests should co-ordinate such meetings with a view
to developing, adopting and implementing any one or more of the strategies
suggested in the director’s letter of 14 November 2003.”
6. SUMMARY OF OTHER RESPONSES
For the purposes of this decision, it has been impracticable to reflect all the views expressed
during the inquiry. Some of the submissions include minor variations of what is essentially the
same proposal, while others propose controls which would be difficult to introduce.
Nevertheless, the following responses are relevant:
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 29
• In the long term, the application of standard conditions across the North West of Western
Australia is required if equity is to prevail from both a consumer’s expectation and from a
licensee’s perspective. For this inquiry, however, uniformity and equity should apply for all
conditions imposed in Halls Creek.
• A small number of local chronic alcoholics have now moved from Halls Creek to Broome
because of the restrictions imposed on the sale of 4 and 2 litre cask wines. The reason is
because these products can be easily purchased (particularly port) in Broome. Therefore,
several of the proposed restrictions could be counter-productive because some chronic
alcoholics may choose to secure the product of choice either through moving to another
town; or by purchasing by mail order (eg: Quaffers); or obtain their liquor via sly groggers.
• The removal of civil liberties or services to a particular group is not fair or equitable.
Virtual prohibition encourages crime and use of alternative, more dangerous substances
(eg petrol sniffing and solvent use).
• Licensees have a right to trade as a competitive business (ie: to compete with licensees in
other towns) and must have the ability to provide a full and adequate range of liquor
products to the general public.
• The abilities of licensees to trade permitted hours to allow the responsible general public,
including tourists, pastoralists, station owners and local residents to purchase alcohol, is
clearly in the public interest. The imposition of impracticable opening and closing times
will have adverse consequences, particularly as many people live out of town. When
people from outlying areas travel to Halls Creek to pick up supplies, they are often
restricted by inclement weather, road conditions, working conditions, stock movements,
etc. If the restrictions do not take this into account, the people will simply be forced to
seek liquor supplies elsewhere which will adversely affect the town’s economy.
• Evidence from the Halls Creek sobering-up shelter indicates that Wednesdays and
Fridays are the days of highest admission. Those days are also either side of the recent
low alcohol day (ie: Thursday) trial in October 2003. To impose a total all day ban on all
alcohol other than those drinking light beer, would not only be unfair to the community and
tourists, it would also encourage binge drinking on the day before and after the low
• Conversely, by restricting the sale of alcohol on 2 days per week, people would have
more of an opportunity to have a break from the constant exposure to alcohol.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 30
It would also allow time for children to purchase food and for chronic drinkers to learn to
drink more responsibly.
• The existing restriction for the Kimberley Hotel, which allows no more than 6 cans of full
strength packaged liquor being sold to any one customer after 9pm, has merit.
• The responsibility to minimise the extent of harm resulting from excessive alcohol use
cannot be placed entirely on any one group in the community, whether this be the
licensees, police, the health departments, individual drinkers or this authority.
• The development of a beer garden outside the Kimberley Hotel would provide an area
where drinking could occur in a regulated environment. As such, the licensee should be
held responsible for how the liquor is sold and consumed. The grassed area, with shade
and sprinklers, outside the Crossing Inn at Fitzroy Crossing, is working reasonably well.
• The proposal for an extended trading permit to allow low strength liquor to be sold from
Balgo Hills has received strong opposition from that community.
With respect to the latter point, I note that the proposal for an extended trading permit to apply
in Balgo Hills is strongly and widely opposed. Many people believe that it will not work and
will only lead to further violence and drunkenness. However, the fact that such a proposal
would provide those Indigenous Australians who consume full strength alcohol an opportunity
to drink low strength alcohol, cannot be overlooked. The long term strategy is to encourage
those people to consume a greater proportion of low strength, as part of controlling one’s
alcohol intake. The community must learn and develop alcohol management skills. It is
accepted that the proposal will need careful consultation and issues such as suitability of
premises, effective management, and security must firstly be discussed and resolved. The
proposal will need the full support of the community. However, the long term potential for
reducing alcohol abuse amongst Indigenous Australians is so significant that the proposal
deserves further consideration.
It was also suggested during the inquiry that it should be compulsory for all licensees to
become members of the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord and attend all meetings. In my view, this
proposal is unacceptable as the cornerstone principle of an accord is that it is a mutual
agreement with all members consenting to join. To require Halls Creek licensees to
participate, by way of a condition of licence, will not engender goodwill or cooperation. Some
accord members with conflicting agendas could also take advantage of a compulsory situation
by pursuing actions which were not necessarily in the public interest.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 31
While compulsory membership of the Accord will not be imposed as a condition of licence,
licensees are reminded that if they choose to withdraw from a liquor accord, they are likely to
be at a distinct disadvantage in terms of gaining cooperation from other accord participants
and understanding latest community concerns. Furthermore, if a licensee decides to opt out
of an Accord agreement, then they run the risk that they would be seen to be lowering their
standards. That situation would not reflect well, should the licensee be subsequently charged
for an offence under the Act.
7. COMPLEMENTARY MEASURES
In the end, the liquor restrictions will not resolve the problems. They can, however, serve as a
catalyst for communities to commence other initiatives to improve their town. As such, liquor
restrictions should be reinforced by an all-of-Government and community approach to the
issues. In this respect, the inquiry revealed that there was general support to the following
• A new plan to be developed to clarify roles and responsibilities of agencies in relation to
prevention, management, workplace policies and strategies for implementation to address
alcohol-related harm. Police to coordinate in the initial stages.
• Specific alcohol-related harm data and statistics to be obtained which will help to identify
the staff/resources needed to work pro-actively in the areas of education, counselling and
• Licensees to maintain a register of bulk purchases of packaged alcohol to prevent sly
grogging. This authority’s Code of Practice on “Selling of Liquor Without a Licence – Sly
Grogging” provides details of the procedure to be adopted.
• Bar staff to be provided with training and education from local police regarding liquor
licensing laws and responsible serving practices.
• The licensee of the Kimberley Hotel is to maintain higher standards of control and
upgrade the premises for that area known as the Public and Saloon bars.
• All graffiti within the hotel property must be removed (painted over) within a target period
of 7 days of first being noticed.
• The sly grogging hotline service currently offered in Queensland, which helps to curtail
illegal alcohol sales and trafficking, is supported for Halls Creek.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 32
8. THE LAW
Section 64(3) of the Liquor Licensing Act 1988, provides wide discretion for the licensing
authority to impose conditions which the authority considers to be in the public interest. In this
context, sections 64(3)(ca), (cc), (d), (e), (h) and (j) are particularly relevant for this inquiry.
In determining whether restrictive conditions should be imposed on liquor licences, pursuant
to section 64 of the Act, I am required to evaluate the level of harm associated with the
irresponsible consumption of alcohol in Halls Creek. I must also undertake a weighing and
balancing exercise whenever conflict arises between the different objects of the Act, for
example, the primary object for harm minimisation [section 5 (1)(b)] as against object 5(2)(c);
“to facilitate the use and development of licensed facilities reflecting the diversity of consumer
In this regard, I am mindful of the following comments of Ipp J in Executive Director of Health
v Lily Creek International Pty Ltd,  WASCA 258, page 8, para 19:
“There will be occasions when s 5(2) objects could only be achieved by the grant of
licences for the sale and supply of liquor in circumstances under which such grants may
tend to cause harm or ill-health to people. Section 5 makes it plain that the Licensing
Authority is required to bear s 5(2) objects in mind as well as the primary objects when
fulfilling its functions....”
In my opinion, the circumstances of this inquiry raise a conflict between the objects 5(1)(b)
and 5(2) of the Act, primarily because of the high level of harm caused by excessive alcohol
consumption in Halls Creek. In the end, I must assess the level of existing harm and the
probability of further harm occurring, and weigh that evidence against the public and
commercial benefits arising from licensed premises being permitted to trade in the same
manner as elsewhere in the State. Once that has been undertaken, I must then decide
whether it is in the public interest to impose restrictive conditions on the relevant liquor
licences in order to minimise the level of harm due to the use of liquor in the community. In
this context, the following comments of Ipp J at  WASCA 258, paragraphs 27 and 28
"Whether harm or ill-health will in fact be caused to people, or any group of people, due to
the use of liquor is a matter for the future and, in the sense referred to in Malec v JC
Hutton Pty Ltd, is essentially a matter of prediction. The Licensing Authority will only be
able to determine the likelihood of harm or ill-health occurring by reference to a degree of
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 33
…the public interest considerations that underlie s 5(1)(b) indicate that the potential of
harm or ill-health is to be taken into account irrespective of whether the prospect of harm
or ill-health is a possibility (my emphasis added) or a probability. The wording of
s 69(8a) is also indicative of an intent to this effect."
Sections 16, 33 and 64 of the Act provide a framework and discretionary power for the
licensing authority. Ipp J states at WASCA 258 page 10, paragraph 29:
"Section 33 of the Act confers upon the Licensing Authority an absolute discretion to grant
or refuse an application on any ground that the Licensing Authority considers in the public
interest. The potential of harm or ill-health to people, irrespective of whether the harm or
ill-health is proved on a balance of probabilities, would be a powerful public interest
The section is therefore consistent with the view that the mere possibility (my emphasis
added) of harm or ill-health would always be a relevant matter for the Licensing Authority
when discharging its functions."
As Wheeler J stated at (59) page 20 of Executive Director of Public Health v Lily Creek
International Pty Ltd & Ors  WASCA 410:
"The Act directs attention to the minimisation of alcohol related harm generally (s 5(1)(b)).
The relevant question for the Court, in that case, is the level of alcohol related harm due to
the use of liquor, which is likely to result from the grant of an application. This does not
mean that only the increased harm which may result from the specific premises in
question is to be considered; rather, it seems to me that must necessarily be assessed
against any existing harm or ill health so as to assess the overall level which is likely to
result if a particular application is granted. Where, as occurs in probably the majority of
cases, the existing level of alcohol related harm is no greater than that which appears to
be commonly accepted in the community, the distinction is probably not significant.
However, where there is already a very high and serious level of alcohol related harm in a
community, it may be that the Court would find a relatively small risk of increase in that
level of harm to be unacceptable."
In my opinion, the above findings are relevant, notwithstanding that the matters before me
relate to an inquiry under 64 of the Act, as against the determination of a particular
If the existing level of harm or ill-health in the community, or the potential for further harm, is
so significant that it is necessary to impose restrictive conditions, then section 5(1)(b) of the
Act read in conjunction with section 5(2) specifically contemplates such a result.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 34
If section 5(1)(a) is also read in light of section 5(2), then in my opinion, if undue harm due to
the use of alcohol in the community is brought to my attention, then I have a primary statutory
responsibility to regulate the industry in a manner which minimises that harm.
In this regard, I am guided by the following comments of Ipp J in Executive Director of Health
v Lily Creek International Pty Ltd,  WASCA 258, page 8, paragraph 22:
“The Licensing Authority may decide that the possibility of harm or ill-health is so remote
or so insignificant that it should not be taken into account. It may be that a possibility of
harm or ill-health of a particularly serious nature will be sufficient to cause the Licensing
Authority to impose stringent (my emphasis added) conditions on a licence or refuse the
grant absolutely. The decision in each case will depend on the particular circumstances.”
The Section 64 Inquiry conducted in Halls Creek provided a public forum for all
participants to present evidence, express their views and consider strategies for reducing
alcohol related harm occurring in Halls Creek area.
The evidence presented by Senior Sergeant Andrew Greatwood was persuasive. He
reported that one of the greatest concerns to the Halls Creek Police is the current rising
trend for alcohol affected people who assault each other. In the year 2000, 68 charges
were reported for assault. In the Year 2001, 106 charges were reported for assault (a rise
of 55.8%). In 2002, 127 charges were reported for assault (another rise of 19.8% or
75.6% over 2000 figures). In September 2003, there were 3 deaths related directly to
domestic violence assaults and alcohol consumption.
The police are concerned that their current resources are insufficient to adequately
address the issue of anti-social behaviour in Halls Creek. Although police commit most
resources into this area, it is evident that they are struggling to address the sheer level of
crime and harm. Although the consequences of alcohol have had a significant impact on
police resources, the problem is not only a matter of effective policing. Alcohol abuse is a
social issue that needs to have a whole of community approach to address the problem.
Similarly, the evidence of Dr Margaret Stevens, the Executive Director of Public Health,
demonstrates that the extent of alcohol consumption in the Kimberley health region has
serious consequences. In the Halls Creek Shire, the per capita consumption in the year
2001/2002 was 14.15 litres of pure alcohol (age 15+ years).
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 35
As such, alcohol consumption in the Halls Creek Shire was 1.25 times higher than State’s
per capita consumption of 11.31 litres in 2001/2002. Yet it must be appreciated that the
per capita alcohol consumption figures are conservative estimates only. They do not
include the liquor transported into the town from outlying towns like Broome and
Kununurra; or liquor sold via mail order; or through unlawful practices such as sly-
grogging, which are of concern in the region.
Ms Sue Langdon, the Acting District Manager of the Halls Creek Health Service, reported
that during the period of temporary alcohol restrictions (ie: from 15 September 2003 to 22
September 2003), the Halls Creek Health service experienced a significant decline in
alcohol related presentations to the hospital. Hospital staff commented on what a
difference the restrictions had made to the whole community. The lack of blatant
drunkenness on the streets promoted a general feeling of calm in the town.
Similarly, the Yarri Yungi Medical Service noticed that the sobering up shelter had
dropped its admission numbers from 10 - 15 persons per night to 1-2 on most drinking
nights. They predicted that once the temporary liquor restrictions were lifted, the
disturbing behaviour would re-emerge.
The above was reinforced by the more subjective oral evidence presented by the many
other witnesses who attended the Halls Creek Court hearing. My own observations in
Halls Creek also confirmed that the main gathering places for drinking packaged alcohol
remain on the areas opposite both the hotel and the liquor store and adjoining road
The combined evidence of the Halls Creek Police; the Executive Director of Public Health;
the Halls Creek Medical Service and anecdotal evidence of the inquiry witnesses, together
with my own observations, demonstrates that the consumption and availability of
packaged liquor is linked with the extent of crime, anti-social behaviour and harm
occurring in Halls Creek.
The problem is so significant that when it is weighed up with the primary objects under
section 5(1) of the Act to regulate the sale, supply and consumption of liquor” and “to
minimise harm or ill health..due the use of liquor”, it requires this authority, of its own
volition, to exercise its powers under section 64(3) of the Act, to impose restrictive
conditions on the two liquor licences in the town for a 12 month trial period.
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 36
9.2. Assessment Criteria
At the completion of the 12 month trial, the impact of the proposed restrictions will be
measured in accordance with the following criteria.
1. An analysis of police data, including the number of assaults and incidents of anti-social
behaviour that relate to alcohol consumption.
2. A comparison of alcohol-related injury data ( the Halls Creek Medical Centre).
3. The collection of statistics relating to the volume and the nature of litter collected in
streets and public areas by the Shire of Halls Creek.
4. An analysis of admissions to the Halls Creek Alcohol Shelter.
5. Observation visits to the Kimberley Hotel to assess serving practices (eg: presence of
drunken patrons, underage drinking, binge drinking, availability of non-alcoholic
beverages and food).
6. The volume of packaged liquor sold by each licensee, according to:
• mainstream full-strength beer and RTDs sold in glass stubbies
The restrictions, however, must be applied in a way which is not counter-productive in
terms of promoting crime or encouraging persons at risk to consume alternative, more
dangerous substances. They should also incorporate sufficient flexibility to allow
responsible consumers and those with particular needs or hardships, to be able to
purchase packaged liquor without undue inconvenience.
In light of recent positive feedback from other towns (ie: Meekatharra and Newman), the
liquor restrictions will therefore incorporate specific or ongoing exemptions to cater for the
reasonable needs of specific groups such as tourists, pastoralists, station owners, lodgers
and special events. Applications for exemptions will be submitted on a form and be
determined by the Officer in Charge, Halls Creek Police Station, in consultation with this
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 37
9.4. Restrictive Conditions
The restrictive conditions listed below will apply from 1 March 2004 to 28 February 2005,
subject to 2 six-monthly reviews, prior to 1 September 2004 and 28 January 2005.
1. Packaged liquor may only be sold between 12.00 noon and 9.00pm Monday to
Sunday for the hotel licence; and between 12.00 noon and 9.00pm Monday to
Saturday for the Halls Creek Store.
2. The sale of packaged liquor between 6.00 pm on and 9.00 pm on any night is
restricted to the sale of low strength alcohol (up 3.5% ethanol by volume or less).
3. The sale of 750ml beer bottles (ie: “King Browns”) and wine in flagons is prohibited.
4. The sale of wine in a cask greater than two litres in volume is prohibited.
5. The sale of fortified wine in a 2 litre cask or greater is prohibited.
6. The sale of wine in casks is limited to one 2 litre cask per customer, per day.
7. The sale of fortified wine in 750ml bottles is prohibited.
8. Each licensee is to jointly consider the feasibility of introducing a can buy-back
scheme and report to this authority within 3 months. Consideration should be given to
utilising the can crushing facilities available at Fitzroy Crossing.
9. Each licensee is to halve (50%) the stock of mainstream beer in glass stubbies and
Ready to Drinks (RTDs) in glass bottles prior to the completion of the first 6 months of
the trial. The reduced stock (therefore reduced sales) is to continue for the remaining
6 months of the trial. Each licensee is to certify that this requirement has been met.
10. Licensees to maintain a register of bulk purchases of packaged alcohol to prevent sly-
grogging. This authority’s code of practice on “Selling of Liquor Without A Licence –
Sly-Grogging” provides details of the procedure to be adopted
Licensees will have the right to seek an exemption from compliance with conditions 1, 2, 6
and 7 above, provided there are strong public interest reasons (eg: to cater for the
reasonable needs of tourists, pastoralists, station owners, lodgers or special events). The
DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING – HALLS CREEK SECTION 64 INQUIRY PAGE 38
proposed exemption form is available from this authority and will be approved by the
Officer-in-Charge, Halls Creek Police Station, in consultation with this authority.
The above conditions will focus on limiting the availability of packaged liquor for those
people in the Halls Creek community that are consuming alcohol at harmful levels, yet at
the same time, minimise the risk of people either moving from Halls Creek; or purchasing
liquor from alternative means; or engaging in other undesirable practices.
Based on the responses to my letter of 14 November 2003, which summarised the draft
conditions and strategies, I have decided that the other voluntary restrictions identified by
the Halls Creek Alcohol Accord were either too inflexible or were impracticable to impose
as a condition of licence. If, however, licensees and the local liquor accord come to an
agreement and would like to include other restrictions as part of the trial, then they should
notify this authority.
Finally, the inquiry highlighted the fact that liquor restrictions are only likely to reduce part
of the harm occurring in Halls Creek. In addition, there is a need for a coordinated
approach with the full cooperation of all government agencies towards improving
standards in the town. New initiatives are required to improve health and education
standards, upgrade housing conditions, encourage school attendances, create new
employment opportunities and to increase the effectiveness of community patrols and
policing. It has been suggested that the Halls Creek Safer WA Committee, or an
equivalent group, would be well placed to undertake a key monitoring role.
A new licence, with the conditions imposed, will be provided under separate cover.
H R HIGHMAN
DIRECTOR OF LIQUOR LICENSING
30 January 2004