Gillard encourages harmful drinking


Sir – The Federal Labor Government is failing Territorians by refusing to allow welfare quarantining provisions that would restrict supply for problem drinkers after Alcohol Mandatory Treatment.
The Commonwealth’s decision is political, will hurt vulnerable Territorians and fails families and communities. The Commonwealth has given problem drinkers a license to drink after Alcohol Mandatory Treatment.
They have said it’s okay for problem drinkers to spend their Centrelink money on alcohol, rather than essentials like food and their children’s education.
Instead of supporting the Territory’s innovative, treatment-based approach to dealing with problem drinkers, the Prime Minister has chosen to put politics ahead of health outcomes. Claiming the focus should be on restricting supply, she wants to turn on the tap for problem drinkers leaving treatment.
The hypocrisy of Labor is unmissable. Delia Lawrie and the Labor Government had welfare quarantining as a component of its failed Banned Drinker Register – but the Gillard Labor Government says “no” when a non-Labor party is in power.
The Territory Government will continue to implement Alcohol Mandatory Treatment and the positive benefits it will deliver to problem drinkers. I will continue to engage with the Commonwealth to have this regrettable decision overturned.
Robyn Lambley
NT Health Minister


  1. Dear Minister,
    The reality is that both political parties granted and oversaw multiple take-away alcohol licences in the Alice Springs CBD over the past forty years.
    NT Labor began buying some of these roosting chickens back before the CLP was voted in again last year.
    Blaming the PM when supply reduction needs to be reined-in is still playing politics.
    There are numerous evidence-based ways that you can reduce supply. Restoring the BDR would restore credibility and take a lot of the pressure off your government.
    Augmenting rehab with supply reduction has financial benefits to all taxpayers and would, in my opinion, as a more comprehensive long range view, help restore the Alice Springs community.

  2. It’s not appropriate for politicians to decide which specific individuals should have their basic rights and responsibilities qualified.
    Qualification of rights and responsibilities are judicial decisions, best left to the courts.
    Overwhelmingly Australians believe to qualify rights and responsibilities by racial measurement is unlawful.
    Currently Commonwealth restricts courts from ordering Centrelink deduct income from recipients to pay state fines.
    NT Government does need request Commonwealth enable courts around the nation to consider and when felt appropriate to order management where part of an appropriate care order.
    Commonwealth, NT and state governments may then provide such management where appropriate and agreed between them.
    Government needs report annually statistics concerning details like the numbers of persons receiving such intensive attention, as part of reporting on the effectiveness of management programs operated, for further consideration.


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