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Banned drinkers scheme expanded to WA tourist town

A banned drinkers register will be tightened and expanded to Carnarvon as the West Australian tourist town grapples with antisocial behaviour.

Additional police have been sent to the northern coastal town in WA's Gascoyne region, where businesses have been repeatedly broken into.

A local liquor accord has been considering measures to reduce alcohol-related harm but has been accused by the government of resisting substantial change.

Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby says the government will take immediate steps to roll out the banned drinkers register in Carnarvon.

He says legislation is being drafted to improve the effectiveness of the program, making it mandatory for licensees in selected areas.

Police and the courts will be empowered to register individuals for alcohol-related offending such as drink-driving and family violence regardless of whether they happen in a licensed premises.

Online liquor retailers will be required to check the register before any sale and it will be an offence to knowingly supply to banned individuals.

Police will also be empowered to seize liquor from people on the register.

The banned drinkers register has been trialled in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Goldfields regions with limited success.

An assessment last year showed just 60 people had been blacklisted in the Pilbara since the trial began there in December 2020.

A further 85 had been banned in the Kimberley since July 2021, including 29 who signed up voluntarily, and 29 in the Goldfields since March that year.

"We've listened to the feedback and these reforms will help strengthen the banned drinkers register trial to improve its effectiveness," Mr Whitby said on Thursday.

"While (it) will not be a cure-all, we're taking immediate steps to roll it out in Carnarvon and I'm confident it will help address alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour.

"I look forward to the support of liquor outlets as well as police and local government as this trial is extended to Carnarvon."

Premier Mark McGowan last month described the efforts to date by retailers to restrict alcohol abuse in Carnarvon as "pathetic".

His comments drew the ire of Carnarvon Hotel owner Helen Newby, who told 6PR radio local publicans were doing their best in difficult circumstances.

A proposal to ban the sale of anything but light beer in bottle shops in the Kimberley and Pilbara was ruled out by liquor authorities earlier this year after a lengthy deliberation.