Grog shop ID scanners for NW

Rourke Walsh
Limits: Plan to use scanners to monitor alcohol sales. Picture: The West Australian

ID scanners aimed at limiting the alcohol an individual can buy in one day could be in place in Kununurra and Wyndham this year.

In a WA first, the system is set to be tried for 12 months and would require an identification card to be scanned by a machine fitted to the till before any purchase.

The scanners will be in all bottle shops in Kununurra and Wyndham and would tell staff when a person had exceeded their daily limit using any outlet.

Currently in the towns, a person can buy only two cartons of full-strength beer, six bottles of wine or one litre of wine or spirits with an alcohol content of 15 per cent or more a day.

Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley president John Moulden said the restrictions, which had been in place several years, were too easy to get around if people simply bought their limit at each outlet.

Cr Moulden said alcohol-fuelled violence and antisocial behaviour was devastating to the community and the council was keen to curb excessive drinking.

"The council recognises the role liquor plays in certain social problems in town," he said. "There is a clear link between booze and social dysfunction and this has been on the table a long time.

"There is no possibility the system can solve our booze problems overnight but if we can just reduce the quantity of liquor in the community, it's got to have a benefit."

Cr Moulden said since Liquorland closed last month, social problems in the town centre had "evaporated". The store leaving also cleared the way for the scanners.

"Liquorland had some problems with the proposal and now that they have gone, that removes that problem," he said.

Councillors have resolved to seek further funding for the project from the Kimberley Zone after the region's other councils agreed last month to help fund the trial.

Each of the three scanners will cost $5000 on loan for a year but provider Scantek has agreed to a 10 per cent discount if it is paid up-front.

Kununurra Wyndham Liquor Accord chairman Michael Skinner said outlets supported the proposal.

"For people who don't have an ID card, it's going to make it a little bit more challenging to purchase alcohol but I don't think there will be a major hold-up," he said.