Alcohol giant Liquorland has lost a Supreme Court challenge to a decision to reject its bid for a superstore in Maylands after objections it might harm "at-risk" people through increased access to cheap alcohol and harm the amenity of residents.
The Liquor Commission rejected Liquorland's application for a First Choice Liquor store on Guildford Road in June.
The majority decision found that even with restricted trading, there was a likelihood of harm and ill-health because of the proximity of four organisations for at-risk groups, including people addicted to alcohol.
These services included support for Aboriginal people with alcohol-related health issues, mental health patients whose issues could be compounded by easier access to alcohol and those at risk of homelessness, many with alcohol and drug issues.
The decision also upheld an objection by residents concerned about a loss of amenity from another big liquor outlet in the area.
It ruled that any benefit of increased competition, range of products and diversity of choice was outweighed by the potential harm.
Liquorland's appeal argued that the evidence of the service groups was nothing more than conjecture, guesswork and speculation.
But in the decision last week, Supreme Court Justice James Edelman said the groups provided valuable evidence about the potential harm from increased availability of cheap alcohol.
"This evidence, together with other evidence, supported the conclusion of the majority that there would be a real likelihood of harm and ill-health resulting from the grant of the application," he said.Justice Edelman said there was a "litany of difficulties" with Liquorland's submission that there was no evidence of a greater availability of cheap alcohol, including advertisements that claimed it would "beat everyone's" prices.
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