Maitland shoppers will be able to buy cut-price alcohol in the CBD by Christmas, with a liquor licence for the ALDI Supermarket in Maitland Mall approved.
The store will sell alcohol from December 1 after the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority approved the relocation of the company’s liquor licence from a premises on Elgin St, where the supermarket giant had originally planned a CBD store.
For those looking to get stuck into their purchases straight away, the store will not carry any chilled alcohol products for immediate consumption – one of the list of conditions set out by the Liquor and Gaming Authority.
An assessment by the authority found that granting the licence would provide “reasonable public benefit” for Maitland residents looking for a “one-stop shopping” experience.
However, the regulatory body also found that over time there is a risk that liquor sold from the business could contribute to the prevailing levels of alcohol related crime in the area.
It also considered crime date from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research which indicated that the Maitland population recorded a substantially higher rate than the state average for alcohol related domestic assault (304.9 per 100,000 people compared to the New South Wales rate of 114.7), alcohol related non-domestic assault (740.4 compared to the New South Wales rate of 133.9) and malicious damage to property (5008.7 compared to the New South Wales rate of 816.4).
The regulatory body acknowledged that the store’s trading hours are “reasonably extensive”, although the 8:30pm closing time Monday through Wednesday and Friday, the 9:00pm closing time on Thursday and the 8:00pm closing time on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays provide some degree of constraint on weekend events.
The liquor authority said that the crime, health and socio demographic data didn’t suggest that relocation of the licence to the mall would present any significant increase in risk.
It also found that harm reduction measures by ALDI, including the "no refrigeration” condition, may work to reduce adverse social impacts arising from any impulse consumption of liquor by persons in nearby public places, or “pre-fuelling” by young adults en route to licensed premises elsewhere in the local or broader community.
The authority said that overall they were satisfied that the overall social impact of granting the licence wouldn’t be detrimental to the well-being of the community.
An ALDI spokesperson said that they assesses each liquor licence location independently, taking into consideration the commercial and social implications.