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Cemeteries excluded from Walgett Shire alcohol free zone after spirited debate

Western Plains App

Luke Williams

08 July 2024, 9:20 PM

Cemeteries excluded from Walgett Shire alcohol free zone after spirited debateWalgett cemetery. IMAGE: findagrave

A motion to make Alcohol-free zones in the Walgett, Lightning Ridge, and Collarenebri cemeteries has split Walgett Shire Council, but was ultimately rejected.

The motion was supported by councillors Jane Keir and Greg Rummery at the most recent Walgett Shire Council meeting.

Cr Keir said she was concerned about broken glass she had recently seen at one cemetery.

Cr Rummery said he was concerned that “there is nothing to stop people having a party”.

One of the first to speak out against the motion was Cr Michael Cooke who said “you should be able to have a beer there to say goodbye to someone”. 

Cr Cooke. Image: Supplied.

“I don't think you should have a party there, but I think you should be able to say goodbye someone. That should not be an illegal act”.

His position was ultimately supported by five of the other councillors, who in Mayor Jason Ramien’s absence, voted down the motion.

Instead council voted to exclude cemeteries from a motion to make public areas in the shire alcohol-free zones from August 1.

Cr Col Hundy told the Western Plains App said he was relieved cemeteries would be excluded from the alcohol-free zone.

Cr Hundy. Image: Supplied.

“I asked Cr Ian Woodcock if there has been any problems with alcohol during burials,” he explained

For 40 years, Cr Woodcock was the Funeral Advisory Service's manager in Walgett.

“He said no, there hasn’t been a problem and to me that’s answered everything.

“People can get picky on wasteless ideas like that.”

Cr Hundy said that he noted “a strong drinking culture in the Opal Fields”.

“If they want to celebrate someone’s life, then why not? It’s not causing anyone any problems”.

The council’s alcohol free zone policy is expected to be put on public exhibition in the coming week.