Police in the Kimberley will soon be able to place people who have committed an alcohol-related offences on a Banned Drinkers Register. At the time of printing, The Liquor Control Amendment (Banned Drinkers Register) Bill 2023 was expected to pass the Legislative Council unopposed this week. The new laws will come into effect once they are passed and proclaimed by order of the Governor which is expected to happen next month. It will make it mandatory for all licensees in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Goldfields, Carnarvon and the Gascoyne Junction regions to take part in the Banned Drinkers Register and scan each customer’s licence when purchasing takeaway alcohol. Online liquor outlets will also be obliged to check that customers who are living in a prescribed banned drinker area are not on the register or risk a fine of up to $10,000. Under the new laws police will be able to place people on the BDR for alcohol-related offending, including violence, drink-driving and behaviour which results in a family violence restraining order. Medical practitioners, social workers and other prescribed people will also be able to apply to the Director of Liquor Licensing to put people on the BDR. Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Neil Thomson supported the Bill but told the Legislative Council it “came far too late,” and only after the “activism of local governments.” “I commend the Government for taking it on, eventually…I do also want to acknowledge the hard work of our local governments that have stood up for their communities and have been tearing their hair out trying to work out how to solve this problem,” he said. “What we are doing here today is very important because it’s going to actually impact children. We see kids not turning up to school, you can always trace it back to the abuse of alcohol in the home or the domestic violence that is happening in the home.” “(The) Kimberley has a domestic violence rate that is 17 times that of Western Australia’s average that is a scourge that needs to be addressed, and the only way we can is by aggressively start targeting these things and drugs and alcohol plays a major part.” The expanded legislation follows the unsuccessful BDR trial in the Pilbara, Kimberley and Goldfields which was voluntary for licencees. Under that trial, people could only be placed on the BDR if they were subject to a barring notice or prohibition order. Most recent Government figures reveal only 97 people are on the BDR In the Kimberley. Under the new laws people who a placed into alcohol-related protective custody may be issued with a banned drinker order. People who supply someone on the BDR could also be banned from purchasing alcohol. It is not an offence for a banned drinker to buy or try to purchase alcohol themselves however police will be authorised to seize the liquor and tip it out. The new legislation has a sunset clause of two years.