31 July 2023

Regulator quashes rumours of new Dan Murphy's store in Griffith

| Oliver Jacques
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Dan Murphy's store interior

There won’t be a new bottle shop in Wagga, Leeton or Griffith anytime soon. Photo: Dan Murphy’s/Facebook.

Alcohol retailer Dan Murphy will not be opening a new store in Griffith anytime soon, with the state regulator confirming there are no active packaged liquor licence applications being considered for any potential new bottle shops in the town.

Rumours abound that the popular nationwide brand was poised to set up its first ever establishment in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, with some speculating that it would be located at the Griffith Central shopping mall.

In order to do so, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) would first need to grant the business a packaged liquor licence, which would give them the right to sell takeaway alcohol.

The ILGA had rejected a previous application Dan Murphy’s parent company, Endeavour Group, made for a packaged liquor licence in December 2022, citing the town’s high domestic assault rates and high Indigenous population as contributing factors underpinning its decision.

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ILGA told Region that since that date, there has been no appeal from Dan Murphy’s and no new application lodged. The regulator confirmed that there are no pending packaged liquor licence applications for Griffith, Leeton or Wagga, meaning none of these three towns are likely to get a new bottle shop anytime in the foreseeable future.

A spokeswoman for Endeavour Group also confirmed the company does not have a packaged liquor licence for Griffith.

“There are always rumours about new Dan Murphy’s stores,” she said.

The popular beer, wine and spirits store had been trying to establish a presence in Griffith since 2020. After overcoming a few roadblocks, Griffith City Council approved its development application in June 2022, on the vacant lot at 75-77 Yambil Street, next to the Griff Hotel. But the ILGA prevented that potential new store from getting off the ground.

“In making licensing determinations, the authority places significant weight on crime data such as alcohol-related domestic assault rates and identification of crime hotspots in suburbs and the wider local government area,” an ILGA spokesperson told Region.

“There are significantly higher crime rates in both Griffith and Griffith LGA [local government area] for domestic and non-domestic assault and malicious damage to property, and higher crime rates for alcohol-related offensive conduct, compared to NSW.”

Construction site next to Griff Hotel

Dan Murphy’s plan for a new store at 75-77 Yambil Street were blocked. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

This means that Wagga’s Dan Murphy’s store will remain the closest available outlet for Griffith residents – a two-hour drive away.

Interestingly, the latest available recorded NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data indicates Wagga has a higher crime rate than Griffith for most categories of offences. In the 2022 calendar year, there were 502 recorded domestic violence assaults in Wagga compared to 177 in Griffith. When adjusted for population, Wagga had a rate of 763 domestic violence assaults per 100,000 people compared to 652 per 100,000 people in Griffith.

Nevertheless, some stakeholders in Griffith did raise concerns about the prospect of a new bottle shop on Yambil Street and the impact it might have on crime rates.

Pat Cox, chair of Griffith’s Community Drug Action Team (CDAT), who develops local initiatives to reduce alcohol and drug misuse, said she met with Endeavour Group when they were progressing its application.

“Initially, we weren’t prepared to support it,” she said. “It was in a spot where people could easily access alcohol, where there had been a lot of incidents … we have also heard some alarming statistics about domestic violence.”

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She said that while Endeavour Group did address some of CDAT’s concerns, she was satisfied with the ILGA’s final decision.

“I don’t think we need any more takeaway liquor outlets myself, Billabong operates long hours, there’s Woolies and Rossies, there’s enough places to buy it.”

In response to the regulator’s decision, a spokesperson for Endeavour Group said: “We have not sought an appeal and respectfully accept this decision.

“We take our responsible service obligations very seriously and have a strong track record in this space over many decades. As part of this, we have always worked in close consultation with local police and community groups.”

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