National attention for Valley?s own David and Goliath battle

BATTLE LINES DRAWN: Palmers Island Pit Stop owners Kris and Graham Downing are determined to obtain a liquor licence
BATTLE LINES DRAWN: Palmers Island Pit Stop owners Kris and Graham Downing are determined to obtain a liquor licence

TOURISTS who visited Yamba over the Easter break might barely have noticed the Palmers Island Pit Stop on the way into town, but the roadside general store's ongoing battle with Woolworths Ltd over an application to sell alcohol has garnered national attention.

Last week commercial television rivals A Current Affair and Today Tonight were locked in their own battle for the rights to the story, while Clarence MP Steve Cansdell relayed details of the saga to the NSW Parliament.

The 'David vs Goliath' comparisons made to the plight of store owners Graham and Kris Downing may have gained the couple widespread support, but they still face a bill in the thousands of dollars to meet required building extensions before their application can be reconsidered.

If Woolworths Ltd's objection to the community store's application for a takeaway liquor licence is upheld, the work will have been for nothing.

Although Woolworths Ltd is worried an approved licence would adversely affect sales in its Yamba bottle shop, BWS, Mr Cansdell told Parliament last Wednesday he believed the conglomerate's willingness to fight the application would do it more harm than good.

"Although Woolworths may have the financial muscle to make things difficult for a small operator and win financially, morally and ethically Woolworths' reputation in the Clarence valley would be severely tarnished by those tactics," he said.

Mr Cansdell also wrote to Woolworths Ltd CEO Roger Corbett warning him of the possible negative publicity and requested the company with- draw its 'spurious objection'.

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