Carnarvon’s Shire president Eddie Smith has quit as chair of the town’s liquor accord after being blamed for the tough new restrictions while claiming ambulance call-outs have already been reduced. WA’s director of liquor licensing Lanie Chopping earlier this month responded to alcohol-related crime and antisocial behaviour in the town by prohibiting packaged liquor sales on Sunday and Monday, and only allowing it between midday and 7pm on other days. She also imposed daily volume limits for packaged liquor sales. During estimates hearings in Parliament on Wednesday, May 24, Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby revealed Cr Smith had written to Ms Chopping advising he was no longer part of the accord and to update her on what had happened since the tough rules were introduced. “There has been a concerted effort to vilify myself by a number of people that are very quick to take my statements out of context to benefit their agenda by informing the community that the Shire president is responsible for implementing the restrictions,” he wrote. “I want to reiterate my support for the restrictions as I believe the majority of the community are accepting . . . like any change, it will take time to become the normal.” The voluntary agreement between liquor stores, pubs, police, local authorities and the Department of Health was recently slammed by Premier Mark McGowan when he said participants couldn’t come to a simple agreement. Cr Smith said there were elements within the accord that weren’t interested in working collaboratively, had an agenda and “weren’t thinking of the community good whatsoever”. “I think with a bit more work and a bit more collaboration, we could have done some good,” he said. Following an inquiry into the extent of alcohol-related harm and ill-health occurring in the town, confronting data revealed by the Shire showed that in 2010-2019, the number of alcohol-related deaths in Carnarvon was 151 per cent above the rest of WA. From 2016-2020, the rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions was at 82 per cent. Cr Smith said anecdotally, the liquor restrictions had already proven to have a “significant impact” on ambulance call-outs. “(Ambulance services) have seen a significant decrease, especially over weekends. It appears there’s quite a significant positive impact so that’s quite pleasing,” he said. Cr Smith said it was the input of many people and organisations that led to the restrictions being imposed and was disappointed at the attitude of a small group putting themselves before the health and safety of the community. “The restrictions still allow for a significant quantity of alcohol be attained albeit with some limitation on choice, which I believe is a small price to pay for the benefit the entire community will receive,” he said.