New booze plan: POSI may be on the way out


p2316-alcohol-launch-2By ERWIN CHLANDA
POSI – cops at bottleshops – is still the weapon of choice in the war against booze abuse in The Alice, but there is a Plan B in the wings of the 2016 to 2018 Alcohol Management Plan announced today.
And that alternative sounds a lot like the Banned Drinkers Register under which buyers of grog had to show ID, and which was knocked on the head by the CLP government soon after being elected in 2012.
Mayor Damien Ryan, who heads up the Alcohol Reference Group, says the alternative is “something different altogether”.
However, in the plan it is described as an “alternative to Strategy 1.1 [that’s POSI] but it would use a point of sale identification system to enforce … Alcohol Protection Orders, prohibition orders and alcohol related Domestic Violence Orders”.
Says Mayor Ryan: “We would in the future support some form of ID but we wouldn’t replace POSIs without something positive in its place.
“You could move to that but until you have perfected it you wouldn’t move away from POSIs. It’s another option going forward.”
Chief Minister Adam Giles said at the launch of the plan today: “The Government is currently looking at whether there could be another model in a similar vein that can help alleviate the need to have police at bottleshops.”
Mayor Ryan says he “begs to differ” with assertions that crime statistics on the increase in 2015 after a drop in 2014 put a question mark over POSI: “We’ve had someone from the women’s shelter on our committee since the beginning and they are very supportive of the difference in the community with the POSIs in place.
“People in the community are saying: Don’t remove the POSIs.”
He says a floor price was discussed but not included in the plan: “It is not the be-all and end-all.”
The plan co-ordinates a string of agencies with clear definitions of their roles.
Mr Giles had a blunt message for bush people bringing anti-social behaviour to Darwin: “There are always people who come in during the wet season in the Top End, like to consume alcohol and live in the long grass and cause trouble.
“My message to those people is piss off and get off the country in Darwin and go back to your home communities. Stop causing trouble in Darwin.”
Commenting on trouble in Alice Springs Mr Giles said Licensing “needs to have a good look at the Memo Club because what I am seeing is not what Alice Springs wants”.
Would he increase police numbers to deal with the need of diverting POSI offers when there are urgent police jobs, Mr Giles said: “We increased police numbers by 20 in Alice when we first came to government. Managing these resources is always a challenge.”
When the crime rate dropped in 2014, was that an adequate level or should it be lower still?
“I’d like to see the crime at zero,” says Mr Giles. “You hear some of the horrendous crimes in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane and I think thank goodness those crimes are not here in Alice.”


  1. So people who go to Darwin, and I am assuming The Alice, and cause trouble should piss off back to their home communities? Couldn’t agree more. When are you leaving, Adam?

  2. Even though we want everyone to be treated equally, it can not be the case in hand.
    Many people need that helping hand, and if it means being unable to buy alcohol, then so be it.
    It helps the user, others and the community.

  3. There is simply no way POSI can be implemented without at least a suspicion of racial profiling. That is unless every person entering an alcohol take-away outlet is stopped and questioned.
    But asking every person buying take-away grog to provide an ID avoids any suspicion of racial profiling. Also, it does identify those problem drinkers who are, for whatever reason, on a watch list.
    Call it what you like, but bring back the BDR and allow the NT Police to get back to policing.

  4. This picture, I assume, is of the Alcohol Reference Group.
    There is no Aboriginal person at the table at all. No point in that when all leans in favour of the alcohol industry.
    Just take a look at Tennant Creek for example. The rivers of grog are flowing fine there. Huge line ups at the two pubs at opening time. Then straight after the pubs close their doors, the pub bottlos make a killing.
    Regular as clockwork around 2pm, for most part of the week, group after group of pub patrons go marching home shouldering cartons of grog.
    At most times, their kids are merrily skipping along alongside them. To those kids, this is probably seen as normal, then grow up to repeat the cycle.
    Perhaps, if it were a paler shade of people with kids skipping along alongside parents shouldering cartons of grog for most part of the week, then the Alcohol Reference Group might view it differently.

  5. I am not familiar enough with all the people in the above photo, but to me it seems that the reference group should include management from the bottleshops, hotels, clubs (ie, Memo Club in particular) and some Aboriginal people.
    A nice touch would be someone high up from the brewing giants too who could make decisions, since they are making so much money out of selling their stuff here.
    This could be their chance to be part of the solution since they talk about corporate responsibility a lot but seem to be light on action.

  6. Here’s the thing – I have doubts over what legislation actually covers POSI, TBL or whatever they want to call it this week.
    The only thing I can find in the legislation database that covers sale of alcohol is Section 102 of the Liquor Act, which says licensees or their employees cannot sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated.
    There are sections covering people who aren’t allowed to possess or consume alcohol if they are court-ordered not to do so; there are regional agreements covering types of alcohol that can be sold and quantities. I cannot find legislation that covers whether licensees cannot sell alcohol to such people.
    If police were outside bottle shops or even inside licensed premises and testing people who had already purchased alcohol as to their level of sobriety, that would be a different thing.
    Since POSI began, can anyone tell me of a single incidence of any licensee in The Alice being charged for selling grog to someone who is intoxicated?
    Are police lining the various bars of all the pubs and clubs down there to make sure everyone is below the limit?
    Is it a case that only takeaway grog causes people to get drunk and do horrible things? Please explain.
    Perhaps police can tell us how much in real dollar terms POSI in Alice alone has cost Territory Government. Perhaps they can also do a breakdown on the crime stats and tell us how many assaults and property crimes have been committed while police are stationed around bottle shops.
    Perhaps they can also give a breakdown as to how many random breath testing operations and speed guns have been manned during those hours.
    All the legislation I have seen indicates the onus is on licensees to do the right thing in regard sale of grog. Is it not the case that POSI is simply public servants doing the job of licensees for them?

  7. @ Pagan: A helping hand is for those who ask for help. But bringing back the BDR will see that everyone is treated equally.

  8. Problem drinkers are ones dissatisfied with their lives. Often with no job, no money to enjoy life and no possibilities ahead of them.
    Many are Aboriginal but do the clowns in the picture stop to think about the real problem – so that instead of bandaid solutions they come up with some real solutions?
    Many from different cultures who cannot speak English have difficulty getting work – many with little or no work skills or possibilities have no chance of a decent life. It is also now working out that some with real skills cannot get work either and basically that is caused by those who put profit before everything else.
    Those in the picture are in control but have no understanding of the real cause of the problem and if one tries to explain it is like talking to a brick wall.

  9. I think that this should have been an open forum held at the convention centre. Have Anglo Saxsons, business people, the whole town and Indigenous present so that they can have the liberty to voice their opinion.

  10. @ Fred the Philistine: Happy to see that sometimes we are in total agreement.
    “People in the community are saying: Don’t remove the POSIs.” said our Mayor; could he tells us how this conclusion was drawn?
    Who was representing the local residents? From camps or town?

  11. Our policy on alcohol and alcohol related harm can be found on our face book page. Please take the time to read it. Cheers.
    Braedon Earley, President, 1 Territory Party.

  12. My concern is that Adam Giles is mistaken. It is known fact that Alice Springs is the murder capital of Australia, which was reported in the Age newspaper.
    The NT has the highest crime rate of any state in Australia. This debate should have been open to the whole community as all are involved.

  13. It doesn’t matter what colour / race you are, the same law applies to everyone.
    Maybe take a long hard look at the places that sell grog to drunk people. Why isn’t the liquor commission looking harder at those places? Where is the security most of the time?
    Not walking around asking people to leave because they have had too much to drink! As long as patrons spend the $ these places will just keep dishing out the grog to them. Absolutely disgusting!

  14. I saw at Eastside IGA today a scanning type device with two coloured lights on too, one red and one green.
    Are the ID scanners on their way back and the public is not being told until it’s a done deal?

  15. Michael Dean (Posted March 29, 2016 at 9:50 pm). I imagine what you saw at Eastside IGA was one of the original scanners that have been in use since 2006 or 2007 to enable enforcement of the rules brought in under the Clare Martin and Paul Henderson Labor Governments, specific to Alice and Tennant Creek, restricting sales of fortified wines and wine casks to one item of each per day per person, with no sales to occur before 6pm.
    As far as I am aware, these rules still apply, in Alice and Tennant, in all our take-away bottleshops and stores. Scanning devices to monitor these sales on a town-wide basis were installed, four years before the BDR system was introduced, and presumably still exist to enable enforcement of these specific rules about one container of each of these items per person per day.
    This may mean that it would not be so expensive to bring back something like the BDR in our towns, although it may be the case that new software has to be developed in place of the BDR recording software that was deliberately trashed by the CLP when they were elected in 2012, wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers’ scarce resources, in their zeal to get rid of all trace of Henderson’s excellent “Enough is Enough” reforms.

  16. The police do a tough and often thankless job in this town. However it is disappointing there wasn’t full POSI coverage over the recent showday long weekend. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


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