Years of campaigning for a banned drinkers register has finally paid off for the Kimberley after a soft launch of the program at the weekend kicked off a “game-changing” two-year trial. The $1 million program, part-funded by the McGowan Government and the Kimberley Regional Group, will require anyone buying takeaway liquor to present photo ID to restrict problem drinkers from being able to buy alcohol. It will be enforced by takeaway alcohol management system technology at every point of sale across the region. The program aims to address alcohol-related harm by targeting problem drinkers and restricting their access to takeaway alcohol and comes after years of campaigning to address ongoing anti-social behaviour and grog-fuelled violence. A similar two-year trial came into full effect in the Pilbara in December last year. Liquor Stores Association WA board member and Hedland liquor strategy chair Brent Rudler said he had seen firsthand the benefits the register had brought about in Port Hedland and across the Pilbara. “It’s only been five months so far, but the BDR has been an effective tool for police and the industry in Port Hedland and across the region to ensure people are playing by the rules,” he said. “We have seen a significant number of IDs scanned from Hedland to Newman and in between with dozens of people banned from buying alcohol. “Until now, the only way WA Police have been combatting some of these issues is by imposing blanket liquor restrictions which affects every person in the town or region. (With this) we get to weed out the problem makers and the responsible community members don’t get affected.” So far, 492,000 people have had their IDs scanned across the Pilbara with 30 people placed on the register. Eight people volunteered to go on the register. A person is placed on the BDR either voluntarily or by way of a WA Police issued prohibition order or barring notice. If a customer’s ID is scanned at the point of sale and it is revealed that person is on the register, they are declined service. At time of the soft launch, 22 liquor stores across Broome and Derby had been fitted with scanners, made by WA company Scantek. Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby said the trial would assess the effectiveness of the program to understand if it could be rolled out more widely to prevent antisocial behaviour. “This trial specifically targets problem drinkers who break the law when using alcohol, and the introduction of the mobile device will help make the program more accessible and flexible to all licensees in the Kimberley,” he said. Shire of Broome Cr Chris Mitchell hailed the introduction of the program and said it would address one of the key issues in the region. “The Kimberley Regional Group believes that the Banned Drinkers’ Register is the most targeted and potentially the most sustainable approach to the management of alcohol in the Kimberley, which is why we have made a considerable financial commitment to this trial,” he said. The $1 million trial, which includes a $228,000 contribution from local governments across the Kimberley, will be evaluated by the University of Western Australia. The rollout is expected to spread across the region in the coming month.