Woolworths Group commits to Independent Panel Review of proposed Dan Murphy's Darwin development

Woolworths Group today announced an Independent Panel Review (IPR) into Endeavour Group's proposal to develop a Dan Murphy's retail outlet in Darwin.

The IPR will be headed by Danny Gilbert AM. Mr Gilbert is co-founder and managing partner of law firm Gilbert + Tobin, Co-Chair, Cape York Partnership Group Pty Limited, Director of the Business Council of Australia and has been an advocate for Indigenous Australians for over 30 years. The IPR will run in parallel with Endeavour Group's continued stakeholder and community engagement.

The Panel will focus on reviewing:

  • The adequacy and nature - including both breadth and depth - of stakeholder engagement relevant to the Darwin Dan Murphy's Development, including with respect to public health concerns;
  • The extent to which stakeholder concerns are - and have been - factored into decision-making regarding the Darwin Dan Murphy's Development;
  • Best practice as it might apply to the supply and sale of alcohol as it impacts the lives and best interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including - but not limited to - potential process changes and technology solutions.

Woolworths Group Chairman Gordon Cairns said: "Over a number of years, Endeavour Drinks has had an extensive engagement with key stakeholders, and engaged with a number of Indigenous communities in proximity to the proposed Dan Murphy's Darwin store.

"As part of this engagement, the team has committed to a number of measures as well as a Responsible Service and Consumption Plan, which would mean the proposed Darwin Dan Murphy's would have the most stringent set of alcohol control policies anywhere in the country.

"While stakeholder engagement has been extensive to date, we acknowledge that there are some in the community that feel they have not been adequately consulted regarding the proposed store. The IPR will provide a further opportunity for them and other stakeholders with a legitimate interest in the development to express their views.

"The Report will also help inform comprehensive decision-making by senior-management and the Woolworths Group Board. This reflects both the strong level of community interest in the development and the importance of ensuring that sufficiently robust plans are in place regarding the responsible service of alcohol. In particular, that the proposed development will mitigate any potential risk of harm to local Indigenous communities."

If a licence is granted by the Northern Territory Director of Liquor Licensing, Woolworths Group has committed that no work will commence on the proposed site until the Panel's review is complete. Woolworths Group will also publicly release the Panel's report which is expected by April 2021, and will take into account all recommendations made.

Following community feedback, on 12 November, Endeavour Drinks moved the proposed site at Darwin Airport Retail Precinct for the Dan Murphy's store further away from Indigenous communities.

Woolworths Group has a long standing commitment to support our First Nations customers, team members, suppliers and communities. This includes its backing of the Uluru Statement from the Heart as well as a Reconciliation Action Plan outlining specific actions such as supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples employment and increasing our number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supply partners.

About Danny Gilbert AM

Danny Gilbert AM is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Gilbert + Tobin, a leading transaction, regulatory and disputes law firm.

Among many other roles, Danny currently serves as Co-Chair of Cape York Partnership Group. In 2005, Danny was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to the law and community, particularly in recognition of his advocacy for Indigenous Australians.

Danny is also currently a Member of the Social Impact Investing Taskforce Expert Panel at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, a Director of the Business Council of Australia, an Honorary Ambassador of the Menzies School of Health Research and prominent advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.

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