Woolworths has temporarily shelved its controversial plan to open a Dan Murphy’s megastore in Darwin to review community concerns.
The proposed bottle shop, the largest in the Northern Territory, has been repeatedly slammed by health groups that say it could be devastating for nearby Indigenous communities.
Woolworths Group – which owns Dan Murphy’s parent company Endeavour Group – announced late on Wednesday an independent panel review of the plan.
The panel will review health concerns, stakeholder engagement and the processes behind it.
“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,” Woolworths Group chairman Gordon Cairns said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
“The IPR will provide a further opportunity for them and other stakeholders with a legitimate interest in the development to express their views.”
The announcement comes just days before the NT government is scheduled to release its decision about whether the proposed liquor store can go ahead.
The NT Independent Liquor Commission rejected Endeavour Group’s application in September last year.
The territory government then passed legislation in November to fast track some bottle shop applications, including Woolworths.
It gave the NT Director of Liquor Licensing until December 20 to decide whether to approve the application to build the megastore.
The IPR is expected to hand down its report by April next year.
Endeavour Group has previously agreed to move the proposed bottle store 1.3 kilometres further away from the three nearby dry Indigenous communities.