A three-month trial of tighter alcohol restrictions will begin in Ceduna and surrounding areas on Monday, with customers banned from purchasing takeaway cask wine, spirits or fortified wine before midday.

The measure was proposed by the licensee of the community-owned Ceduna Foreshore Hotel.

The pub and bottle shop suggested the restriction in response to reports of an increase in “antisocial behaviour” and alcohol-related harm.

The new alcohol restrictions were proposed by a local licensee.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Jodie Hamilton)

The Liquor and Gambling commission said the justification for the midday restriction was to delay the availability of high concentration alcohol by three hours and ease the pressure on frontline services in the morning.

“These additional measures cannot resolve issues of demand but may be effective in tackling supply, which can have flow-on positive effects,” Acting Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Fraser Stroud said.

Tighter restrictions suggested

The changes apply to the Ceduna Foreshore Hotel, Smoky Bay General Store, Thevenard Hotel, Penong Hotel and Nundroo Roadhouse.

South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation Network (SAACCON) lead convenor Scott Wilson said he had seen a significant increase in people visiting Ceduna’s sobering up unit in the past year.

“This might give the town a bit of a breather to look at what other programs they might need to help people who have got alcohol problems,” he said.

“There needs to be investment in the public housing, for example, and from the state government there needs to be investment into different types of activities and also employment.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Ceduna or Port Augusta or other regional centres, there seems to be a lack of the social services, not just for Aboriginal folk, but for all citizens.”

SAACCON’s Scott Wilson said sobering up services in Ceduna had recently seen an increase in demand.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Jodie Hamilton)

He said the Alcohol and other Drug Day Centre in Ceduna had seen an increase in clients from 700 to 1,100 over the last year.

There is no dedicated alcohol rehab facility in Ceduna.

Calls for more permanent solutions

Newly elected West Coast Voice representative Keenan Smith said alcohol restrictions were a band-aid solution for a complex problem.

“These kinds of measures don’t actually address the causes of why people drink,” Keenan Smith said.

Newly-elected Voice representative Keenan Smith said restrictions were a “band-aid” measure.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Bernadette Clarke)

“People aren’t born alcoholics; they’re not born drug addicts. It’s often either a response to coping with trauma, or it’s basically a coping mechanism.

“I think further investment into those areas that address the root causes around why people are abusing substances.

“If there’s no opportunity to gain access to a job, or to work towards something, then obviously there’s that likelihood to drink.

“It’s an accumulation of multiple issues in that community that are resulting in these band-aid measures that aren’t actually addressing anything.”

Ceduna has been on the frontline of social policy interventions for decades and was one of the trial areas for the scrapped Cashless Debit Card from 2016 to 2022.

The card has left a divisive legacy, with mixed results around the effectiveness of the policy on reducing alcohol related harm.

Ceduna District Council Mayor Ken Maynard said he was optimistic about the alcohol restriction trial.

“These restrictions will simply mean that instead of the hotel selling that alcohol from nine o’clock in the morning onwards, it will slow down to midday,” he said.

“Therefore, the impact will be less in the mornings and give all the agencies a chance to recover from any activity the night before.”

A long history of alcohol measures

A dry zone has been in place in Ceduna and Thevenard since 1988.

Residents of nearby dry Aboriginal communities are already banned from purchasing takeaway alcohol in Ceduna.

Recent data found Ceduna offers one of the most affordable beachside suburbs in the country.(ABC Eyre Peninsula: Jodie Hamilton)

An ID system is in place at all establishments licensed to monitor alcohol sales and enforce compliance with restrictions, including licensee barring orders and police barring orders applying to individual persons.

Police, the council, local Aboriginal drug and alcohol support services and the Far West Community Partnerships Leaders Group were consulted about the tighter liquor restrictions.

They will provide feedback to the government’s Consumer and Business Services about the impact of the restrictions on anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related harm at the end of the trial.

Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation was contacted for comment.

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