Years of campaigning for a Banned Drinkers Register in the Kimberley has finally paid off. Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia has confirmed a start date for the “game-changing” two-year trial, which is part-funded by the McGowan Government and the Kimberley Regional Group. The million-dollar initiative will begin with a “soft-launch” in May before coming into full effect from June. It follows a trial in the Pilbara which began last December and came into full effect this week. The new trial is set to combine the Banned Drinkers Register and a Takeaway Alcohol Management System that would require residents to produce photo ID every time they purchase alcohol in the Kimberley region. The BDR aims to address alcohol-related harm by targeting problem drinkers and restricting their access to takeaway alcohol. Its introduction comes after years of campaigning in the north amidst ongoing anti-social behaviour and grog-fuelled violence. Those identified as banned drinkers will then be directed to appropriate community services which will provide them with access to relevant support programs and initiatives. Mr Papalia said he was “very optimistic” the trial would make a difference within the Kimberley region. “This is a proactive move to address alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour in the Kimberley community,” he said. “The BDR concept specifically targets people with alcohol problems, rather than blanket restrictions which impact upon the entire community. “The TAMS component provides an effective tool for people to responsibly consume alcohol and to reduce alcohol-related harm.” Technology provided by WA-based company Scantek will scan IDs and display a green light if a sale can proceed or a red light if the individual is a registered banned drinker. Mr Papalia said the same technology would apply to the Takeaway Alcohol Management System, which allows customers to responsibly purchase alcohol according to a daily volume limit for their area. “The thing about the Kimberley as opposed to the Pilbara is that it is running in conjunction with the Takeaway Alcohol Management System using the same devices and databases,” he said. “It will mean if you go to one bottle shop and buy your daily allocation, you will not be able to go into another shop and buy more. “The benefit is that restriction would effectively be policed by the technology.” The trial, like the one in the Pilbara BDR, will be independently assessed by the University of Western Australia’s Public Policy Institute once it concludes. Mr Papalia said he was positive the two-year trial will be able to provide a “robust analysis” of the benefits or otherwise of the two initiatives. Liquor Stores Association of WA chief executive Peter Peck said the announcement is the first time in decades where action is being taken to try something different. “This is a game-changer,” he said. “Instead of constantly having the toolbox and just putting on restrictions that eventually don’t work, we’re now trying something different. “Hats have to go off to the Minister, the local governments and the police to get this where it is today. “The fact all of our local members have chosen to be part of this voluntary trial shows the sort of comradery and motivation to tackle this issue as a community.” Kimberley Regional Group chairperson Chris Mitchell said the trial is a “major step forward” after years of looking at ways to reduce alcohol abuse in the region. “We are really thankful to the Minister for listening to the Kimberley and helping us tackle the issue with a unified approach for the region as a whole,” he said.