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Port Augusta bottle shop orders extended again

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“Temporary” restrictions on the sale of cask wine and other alcohol in Port Augusta have been extended for a third time this year, with the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner still yet to make a decision on whether to enforce the booze limits permanently.

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Since February 8, Port Augusta bottle shops have been subject to strict orders prohibiting them from opening before 11am, with customer purchases of fortified wine/port and 2L cask wine limited to one per day.

Sales of cask wine above 2L are also prohibited, while on-duty taxi drivers are forbidden from making any liquor purchase.

The restrictions, which do not apply to companies operating mining ventures or managers of station properties, were originally brought in on advice from SAPOL about an “increase in alcohol-related offences and antisocial behaviour”.

Despite being branded as a “temporary” measure to respond to an influx of people into Port Augusta unable to return home due to flooded roads and COVID-19 lockdowns, Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Dini Soulio on Monday announced a third extension of the restrictions.

The latest extension will run for two months until August. Soulio said he needed more time to make a decision on a permanent extension.

“This is an issue that cannot be considered in isolation, and the consultation is progressing,” he said in a statement.

“I will be reviewing the data thoroughly and considering the views of key stakeholders in formulating any decision on whether to impose these or other restrictions on an ongoing basis.”

Soulio first opted for a two-week extension of the restrictions in February followed by a three-month extension from March to June.

The introduction of the restrictions received heavy criticism from local drug and alcohol rehabilitation services and the Port Augusta City Council, both of which criticised a lack of consultation on the initial decision and raising concerns the measures wouldn’t address systemic issues in the region.

Similar restrictions on takeaway alcohol sales already apply in Coober Pedy and Ceduna.

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