The West

Liquor licence application stirs fears
Oyster Harbour Store owner Mark Cuzens, with business partners Felicity Tadj, Chris Moir and staff members.

The owner of the Oyster Harbour Store fears his business will be jeopardised if the Liquor Commission of WA grants a liquor licence to retail giant Woolworths to set up another store less than 100m from his door.

Mark Cuzens, who has been the owner of the Oyster Harbour store for 17 years, hopes community support will shine through as a deciding factor in his push to have the application rejected.

The commission is reviewing the application by Woolworths to establish its fifth liquor store in Albany, a 171sqm BWS outlet at the new Bayonet Head Shopping Centre, expected to be completed early next year.

Mr Cuzens said he was “confident” Woolworths would not be able to prove another store would be in the public interest, given the city had a higher number of liquor licences per capita than Bunbury.

The retail giant has a Dan Murphy’s, BWS and two Woolworths liquor stores in Albany.

“It is another David versus Goliath battle,” Mr Cuzens said.

“Do we need another liquor store? If common sense prevails, it will be rejected.”

McKails General Store owner Don Perfrement has questioned the need for another liquor outlet and believed another store would also hurt his business.

“At some point there has to be a cut-off,” he said. “You don’t compete with Woolworths as an independent, it is not the same playing field.”

The Liquor Commission could not confirm how long it would take to review the application, but if rejected there were appeal options.

Mr Cuzens described the support from the Oyster Harbour and Bayonet Head communities as “phenomenal”.

About 300 nearby residents have signed a written objection to the retail giant’s application.

“I’ve lived out here since 1986 and I’ve known a lot of these people for around 25 years,” he said.

“We have had a lot of very, very good anti-Woolworths support.”

Woolworths confirmed a liquor licence application had been made for a BWS at the Bayonet Head shopping centre.

“Woolworths will employ many people in the local community,” a spokeswoman said.

She said Woolworths was at the heart of many local communities.

“Competition is healthy for any community as it drives better value, which is good news for customers,” she said.

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