By James Atkinson

A liquor regulator has approved an application by supermarket Woolworths to open a new Dan Murphy's outlet despite concerns raised by a public health agency (see full decision here).

Western Australia's executive director of public health (EDPH), Dr Tarun Weeramanthri, intervened in the application by Woolworths to open the Dan Murphy's store in the southern Perth suburb of Cannington.

Weeramanthri argued that the store had the potential to contribute to alcohol-related harm and ill-health for a number of reasons including increased availability of cheap liquor.

His office submitted that the Cannington area had a higher than average proportion of 'at risk' demographics including young adults and indigenous people.

But the Liquor Commission of Western Australia said it was unable to reach a negative conclusion based on the "general harm data" put forward by Weeramanthi.

"Whilst general harm data is relevant and of assistance to the licensing authority… the weight to be given to this general data will depend on the circumstances of each application," said Deputy Chairperson Eddie Watling.

"In this case, the harm data presented by the EDPH does not reflect a local community experiencing any greater levels of alcohol-related harm than that which appears to be commonly accepted in the community."

Watling approved the application, noting that there were no other objections raised by the community.

Woolworths opened six Dan Murphy's stores during the first quarter of 2011-12.

This article first appeared on The Shout