Alcohol services cuts undermine BDR: Higgins


p2239-Gary-HigginsLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Cuts to services that assist problem drinkers are a worrying outcome from Labor’s Banned Drinker Register (BDR).
The 2017-18 Budget cut over $8m from Alcohol and Other Drugs funding that spread across the Department of Health, Top End Health Service and Central Australian Health Service.
If ‘protecting people who are misusing alcohol form severe or serious harm’ is the true object of the BDR – as section 3 of the Bill suggests – these cuts simply do not make sense.
Labor has not learnt from the mistakes of the past.
In 2014 the Police Association said: “The weakness of the BDR was that the government of the day failed to apply adequate resources to the rehabilitation aspects of the policy and as such it failed to bring about long term change for the alcoholics on the register.
“This failure ensured that the BDR was vulnerable to criticism and it is arguable created the political environment that ultimately led to its dismantling.”
The BDR alone will not solve the Territory’s alcohol problems and should be incorporated as part of a suite of measures.
That is why I have consistently called for consideration of reduced density of liquor outlets and an alcohol floor price to work in conjunction with the BDR.
The alcohol review is currently looking at these and Labor should commit to adopting all recommendations from this inquiry.
The trust deficit shrouding the Labor Government has widened following another disappointing Question Time performance.
The Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister both missed opportunities to dispel assertions they had misled Territorians.
The Chief Minister tried to wriggle away from a false answer he gave on radio when, in response to an explicit question about the number of ankle bracelets issued by police since March, he said: “Heaps.”
The correct answer is two – exposing the Chief Minister’s deceit on radio and his habit of answering questions without knowing the facts.
Gary Higgins
Opposition Leader


  1. I’m struggling to think of anything this Government has done that has improved the Territory. Not a good look, especially seeing as you don’t even have a real opposition (no offence Gaz).
    Especially every time I hear the CM talking about the large number of extra police coming through … blah blah, these numbers don’t even cover the officers who leave during the year.

  2. Time to stop being politically correct and DO SOMETHING.
    These problem drinkers need help now.
    I’ve been in the Alcohol and Over Drugs (AOD) industry long enough to know that tough love is the only way.
    Tax a percentage from those outlets selling grog and use the funds to build one large rehab centre.
    Every client then must complete a Cert IV AOD course and then after that, release them to do community service. If they fail then send them back in to rehab.
    If their education levels aren’t good enough for the course, then they must work through numeracy and literacy plus foundation skills to get them confident enough to complete the Cert IV.
    The longer they stay in the facility the better chance they have rehabilitating and also gaining some qualifications and work ethic.
    For substance abusers to change they need to change their environments.

  3. @ Floyd: here’s no way a person in need of treatment would benefit by undertaking a Cert IV in AOD.
    And if you can advise me how to address LL and N issues for persons who have only completed primary school to get them to a IV level I’m all ears. What a ridiculous sentiment!

  4. I find it ludricrous that one can only buy fortified wines (sherry, port) or cask wine and only one of after 6pm.
    Most sales are for the rums, bourbons, beers, vodkas, all of which you can buy in copious amounts.
    The BDR or POSI IMHO does not or will not stop others from buying for their family or friends.


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