Woolworths says it has scrapped controversial plans to build a large-scale Dan Murphy’s liquor outlet in Darwin.
The plan has faced long-running opposition from three local, dry Aboriginal communities which would have been located close to the store.
In a statement the company said a review found it had not done enough to engage with Aboriginal groups about their concerns the store would have further negative impacts on the region’s rates of alcohol-related harm.
“The Gilbert Review has made it clear that we did not do enough in this community to live up to the best practice engagement to which we hold ourselves accountable. In particular, we did not do enough stakeholder engagement with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations,” said Woolworths Group chairman Gordon Cairns.
The full review and Woolworth’s Group’s response to it’s recommendations are expected to be released no later than mid-June.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Danila Dilba Aboriginal Health Service, which has been steadfastly opposed to the project and had recently launched a legal challenge against its development.
Chief executive Olga Havnen said Woolworths had “done the right thing” by not proceeding with the outlet.
Wiradjuri woman Olivia Williams is the creator and founder of Blak Business, and last year established a change.org petition calling for Woolworths to abandon it’s plans.
“A big lesson I’ve learned from this is it’s important to remember everyone has power to have a say and everyone has a platform, whether you have 100,000 followers or ten friends on Facebook that you can send a message to. Everyone has the opportunity to educate someone else and bring someone else’s attention to a campaign.
It’s not through one person doing this, it’s through all the other people who were enraged by this and took on the work as well that it was able to spread.
It really is power to the people.”
The petition now has more than 155,000 signatures and Ms Williams says the success of the campaign shows that everyone has a voice.