Melbourne parish in battle over "liquor precinct" development

Parish priest Fr Peter Hansen from Craigieburn in northern Melbourne has joined with the local council in opposing a bid by Woolworths for a second packaged liquor licence in a local plaza that could create a "liquor precinct" in an area with a high youth population.

Fr Hansen from Our Lady's parish, Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park, told Star News that he had just finalised a submission to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) opposing the proposed new licence.

He said he was pleased that the Hume City Council had finally got behind the local community on this issue.

"I am very gratified by the council's decision," he said and added that he expected a number of people from the local community to turn up to the VCAT hearing.

"The establishment of a second liquor outlet, side-by-side with the existing outlet, will create a de facto 'liquor precinct' which would be incompatible with other uses in the area, thereby detracting from the amenity of the area," Fr Hansen wrote in his submission.

Fr Hansen's submission also says that Craigieburn has already reached its liquor saturation point and that any more liquor stores could be dangerous.

He says anti-social behaviour like littering and under-age drinking were common in the area.

The Hume City Council last week passed a motion by councillor Drew Jessop, outlining some of the Craigieburn community's concerns should the licence application go ahead and calling on council to present a written submission to VCAT opposing the new licence.

According to Cr Jessop's motion, some of the concerns raised by Craigieburn residents include: the likelihood of increased alcohol consumption and anti-social activities; greater amounts of alcohol being sold to Craigieburn's relatively young population and fewer opportunities for other retail outlets in the centre.

Earlier this year Woolworths obtained permission from the Liquor Licensing Panel to operate a second packaged liquor licence in Craigieburn Plaza, with the new store - due to trade as Safeway Liquor - likely to open near current liquor store Cellarbrations.

A spokesperson for Woolworths told Star News that the company was considering its position.

Melbourne Catholic parish in battle over developing "liquor precinct" (Roxburgh Park, Craigieburn Star/News, 18/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Our Lady's Parish, Craigieburn & Roxburgh Park
Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal
Hume City Council

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19 Oct 2006