THE stoush over a Dan Murphy’s superstore planned for Tamworth has taken a dramatic twist, after the liquor giant’s parent company – Woolworths – revealed it would scrap one of its existing BWS outlets if the new store went ahead.
It comes during heated community debate over Tamworth Regional Council’s decision to sell Prince of Wales Park – without public consultation – to make way for a proposed $18.5 million Woolworths supermarket and Dan Murphy’s outlet.
Critics have slammed the move, claiming another discount alcohol retailer in Tamworth would only add to the city’s already high level of alcohol-fuelled violence.
But a senior Woolworths executive has scotched the claims, saying the new development – along with its planned Masters project on Scott Rd – would create hundreds of new jobs while not increasing liquor licences in the area.
“Our proposed investment in the Woolworths, Dan Murphy’s and Masters stores is a vote of confidence in the Tamworth economy ... these developments would represent a
$49 million investment,” Woolworths government and community manager Luke Schepen said.
“Combined, these investments will create approximately 300 ongoing jobs, with more than 200 created during the construction phase.
“Should the Dan Murphy’s store proceed, it is our intention to apply to transfer one of our two BWS liquor licences to the new store. This means there would be no net increase to the number of packaged liquor licences in Tamworth.”
The proposed development, to encompass Prince of Wales Park and the old Weston factory site on Murray St, will face the Joint Regional Planning Panel as its final approval hurdle.
The land is owned by Moree car dealer Theo Zannes, who will lease it back to Woolworths if the development application is approved. The council claims the park was an underutilised public asset and plans to funnel money raised from the sale into a new regional playground project. But many locals remain unconvinced the sale was in the best interests of the community, saying the emergence of the nation’s largest cut-price liquor retailer will have profound social impacts.
Local NSW Ambulance Service inspector Ray Tait said paramedics were confronted with the ugly face of alcohol abuse on a daily basis.
“It ranges from verbal abuse to physical assault and 100 per cent of the time it’s alcohol-fuelled. We’re also dealing more and more with the domestic abuse side of alcohol,” Mr Tait said.
“I just don’t see the reasoning behind another liquor outlet.
“How many more do we need?”