Gunner re-opens the Rivers of Grog floodgates


p2314-police-bottleLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – In the 12 months ending November 30, 2017, alcohol related crime in Alice Springs has sky-rocketed: Alcohol related assaults are up 22.3%, domestic violence assaults are up by 8.1% and house break-ins up by 12.3%.
One of the obvious reasons for these alarming statistics is the reduction of the presence of police outside of bottle shops.
In recent times police have not been routinely stationed outside of any of six suburban bottle shops – Eastside, Northside, Flynn Drive, Ivy’s Milner Road, Piggly’s and Heavitree.
This change in alcohol policy is opening up the Rivers of Grog in Alice Springs like we have not seen for years.
People living within a 500 meter radius of any Alice Springs suburban bottle shop will tell you the difference in their lives between having police outside of bottle shops and not having them.
It is the difference between a safe, peaceful life and a life of fear and worry for the safety of your property and family.
People across Alice Springs have been telling me about the resurgence of drunk and disorderly behaviour around all our bottle shops; the increase in litter including glass bottles; the increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour; and the increase in people defecating and urinating in public.
In less than 18 months the Gunner Government has taken us back to the bad old days of pre-2011, before the introduction of police outside of bottle shops.
The Banned Drinkers Register is having no impact in Alice Springs. It wasn’t successful in 2011/12 and it won’t be in 2018.
The secondary sale of alcohol killed it last time and it is killing it now. If the police do not have the resources to stand outside of bottle shops, I doubt they have the time to follow people buying grog and ensure they don’t supply it to their mates on the BDR.
Good alcohol policy is critical to our social and economic well-being in Alice Springs. It is time the Gunner Government honoured their 2016 election commitment and fully restores the presence of police outside our bottle shops – the most effective alcohol reduction strategy we have ever seen in Alice Springs.
Robyn Lambley MLA
Independent Member for Araluen


  1. I agree with this letter. We now have humbugging back in force and stepping around drunks again.
    The council lawns had police doing their best the other day in the face of a very loud drunk swearing his head off at the top of his lungs etc.
    No sooner had they left than a woman set herself down to wail drunkenly at the top of her voice taking over to give the nice family of interstate visitors an education in what it is like to live here.
    I think they were a bit shocked.

  2. Alice Springs will not change, ever.
    This is because the Aboriginal population who would rather wake up, go to the Todd Tavern in morning, buy grog from bottle shop from 2pm onwards (except Saturday 10am and Sunday 12 noon) and cause the community problems all afternoon, night and early morning.
    BDR – what a joke. If you are banned you are only prohibited from buying take away alcohol.
    Wow, so they can still buy grog inside a pub. Not too hard to get a mate to buy grog for you afterwards at bottle-shop either.
    I’m sorry to say but the only solution will never come to be in our overly protective fragile sensitive society.
    The solution will be viewed as racist and vilified by the go-gooders who are adamant they are protecting Aboriginal rights.
    At the meantime they are drinking their lives away and wrecking the Alice Springs community with violent behaviour and crime.
    I do acknowledge that issue is not an all Aboriginal problem. As per crime stats it’s just a 99% Aboriginal problem. Not being racist, just realistic.

  3. Yes, having appropriate people stationed outside bottle shops does seem to make a difference.
    Do these people need to be policepersons?
    I don’t think so.
    I understand there are already moves to have liquor inspectors or some other parapolice to do this job, analogous to the transport and public housing safety officers with limited but effective powers.
    Let us hope it can happen sooner rather than later so that the real police can get back to real policing.

  4. Great work Robyn. We are now going to see more of a reduction in police in Alice Springs.
    Do you seriously think the police joined the force to babysit bottle shops?
    How many police are we down so far, and you think they aren’t leaving because of bottle shop duty. Start addressing the problem.

  5. I often wonder, do the licensees ever consider they might have some responsibility to society in this whole grog problem, or do they just stay under the radar enjoying support of politicians and government while they profit?
    Politicians and government that run to the aid of licensees by stationing police at bottle shops helping protect their trade.
    It demonstrates our politicians and government lack any intelligence to look at other measures to effectively enact to better manage this out of hand problem at the source, other than taking police away from the job they are there to do, that is, protect society as a whole.

  6. Bottle shops should have their own registered trained security. Police should be busy policing.

  7. The retailers have a responsibility to comply with the relevant act and regulations relating to their liquor license.
    They are a lawful business, selling a legal product.
    A business is essentially established to create profit.
    Crime, anti-social behaviour, health outcomes – they are the responsibility of legislators and the appropriate government bodies – not a mere retailer.

  8. What, good unarmed basically trained security guards with no more power than Joe citizen hovering about the interior of a grog outlet? I doubt the outcome at the Gap where a good man got his jaw broken requiring re construction in Darwin would have been any different.
    Seems to me if the police don’t like the idea of being a visible deterrent out front of the former declared precincts then they need an attitude adjustment instilled from the top.
    Oh, that’s right, Gunner is at the top. Gunner, who promised nothing would change when he re-introduced the totally useless banned drinkers register.
    Cops at the shops would remain. But he was a clever little fast talking pollie, somewhere in that machine gun diatribe was the qualification “over the Christmas period”.
    Now any of us that live anywhere near a grog shop see the consequences.

  9. There is no such thing as rivers of grog, just rivers of welfare. Stop the river of welfare and you will stop the grog.

  10. Protect and serve … great words. Having the the police stationed at liquor outlets has had a very desirable flow-on effect to the whole community. This is both protecting the community and serving it by reducing alcohol related crime.
    Naturally our Whinger Ninjas all bleet that this policy discriminates and targets by profiling. They are probably correct, but I guess historical evidence backs up this profiling.
    Having the police stationed at liquor outlets is the best deterrent. Our local drinkers have respect for the police but none whatsoever for security guards.

  11. @ Kilyo: What has immigration got to do with this argument? You do realise that the White Australia policy had noting to do with Aboriginies but was an immigration policy, right?

  12. Trouble won’t stop until these people drink themselves into history or decide to change themselves. Any alternative would be called racist and heaven forbid you try to help people by doing what is best for them.
    I would be up for stopping alcohol sales (to everyone) in Alice Springs for one month just to see what might happen.

  13. It remains the responsibility of licensees what happens within their premises, to ensure compliance with requirements set out in the legislation.
    If Licensees find to difficult to check proper ID to avoid serving those on the BDR, they need provide better staff training.
    If their own staff experience difficulty with unlawful purchase events they need then call police for assistance.
    If licensees are not able to avoid serving banned persons alcohol, they need be temporarily closed until they can.

  14. It would be interesting to know the sales figures for alcohol from all the outlets collectively while the coppers were there compared to when they weren’t. How much less grog was sold?
    Or was it the same just more sold to the black marketeers for on selling.
    Basically to much grog is being drunk we need to lower that, which means financial losses to the sellers, pubs won’t be happy.
    I think perhaps we need to get rid of a few licences. Take away should perhaps only be sold from the hotels that already have bottlos. That’d be the Gap and Todd Tavern. Concentrate the outlets and save police time.
    Also if the coppers are noticing Joe Blogs buying up big on the cheap plonk every other day, they might get an idea where to look for the black market.


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