Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeVolume 29Booze for bush. Taxpayer helps.

Booze for bush. Taxpayer helps.

By ERWIN CHLANDA

The NT Government is inviting tenders from consultants to develop Community Alcohol Plans (CAPs) designed to bring back booze to remote communities currently dry.

Early last year, the new interim alcohol protected areas (APAs) opt-out model came into effect across the Northern Territory.

It meant all communities are dry, and it is against the law to bring in, possess, consume, sell or supply alcohol in these areas.

But a community can have its interim APA revoked by submitting a CAP to the Director of Liquor Licensing.

It is a process the applicants will be assisted with by the consultants who “must have an ability to interpret, deliver and explain alcohol policy to a wide range of community members and be able to work, consult and deliver the requirement in remote settings some of which involve flying in single engine aircraft and/or driving long distances or dirt roads,” says the tender document.

The government says online the objective is “to reduce alcohol and related harms”.

The contracts will run for 18 months. The regions of the consultancies are East Arnhem, Barkly, Big Rivers, Top End, Darwin, Palmerston, Litchfield and Central Australia including Alice Springs.

The Liquor Regulations 2019 have been updated and now provide further guidance on CAP requirements, including how communities can show that the plans are supported.

For communities with a population over 50 people, the CAP must include: The total number of adults who are genuine permanent residents of the community, that is, they do not have another place of residence and the methods used to determine the total number of adults who reside in the community.

For communities with a population of 50 people or fewer, the CAP must include a list of adults whose principal place of residence is within the community and the signature from each adult showing their support of the plan, provided that this represents at least 60% of the eligible cohort.

The tender invitation nominate more than 40 “prospective tenderers” including major accountancy firms, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal NGOs, medical organisations, and small consultancy businesses.

PHOTO courtesy police who seized a large quantity of alcohol destined for remote communities on Saturday in three vehicles travelling together 30km south of Alice Springs. They carried 99 four litre casks of wine, 23 one litre bottles of spirits and 10 330ml premixed drinks. The three female drivers, aged 28, 35, and 55, were issued a notice to appear for August 15, 2024. The seized alcohol was destroyed.

6 COMMENTS

  1. That’ll fix it!
    Throw in some acronyms and a major accountancy firm prepared to drive or fly out bush.
    The Federal Government could make their usual contribution: Millions of dollars spent on infrastructure.
    In Yuendumu we could do with a pub. And why not throw in a casino and a golf course?
    A Bran Nue Day.

  2. Yes Frank, “major accountancy firms”. Bloody hell!
    Are they working for major grog companies, wasting public money?
    Surely the Land Councils would be the best placed organisations to do these consultations.
    It may actually come under their charter, and they have the people on the ground and in the communities.
    The history of grog outlets in communities has been pretty dire, but car loads of grog (at least $5000 worth in this lot) is not a good situation either.
    However it may put control back into the hands of communities (hopefully).

  3. @ Frank and Charlie: Your concerns are valid but this is an idea whose time has come.
    No manipulation is needed.
    Ask the mob and you will probably get the positive response I’ve been getting.
    The non drinking minority on communities, that were mainly women, has shrunk.
    They are drinking as well.
    Many community members want to drink without coming to town, getting scrutinised by the heavy police presence, blocked at the bottle shops, repeatedly pulled over for vehicle checks and risking ending up in the Watch House.
    There will be more social disorder and crime, especially domestic violence, on communities but less in town which is of course, the rationale for the government’s support.
    Re the casino coming to Yuendumu: It’s already there. On line gambling has taken off in a big way in the bush.

  4. OK Ralph, us old fossils need to move with the times. I still reckon that learning from the past is a useful exercise.
    Yuendumu by consensual compromise had the permit system. This worked reasonably well, especially when our local councillors had input into the system.
    Yuendumu in effect was a “dry” community, although a “moist” community is probably a better description. The “rivers of grog” had slowed to a trickle by the time Mal Brough and Jenny Macklin promulgated their alleged endemic existence. Our drunks were either in an early grave or locked up or behaving in Alice Springs like some Australian tourists do in Bali.
    Then came the Intervention with its prohibition and offensive signage.
    Prescribed areas like Yuendumu were declared “dry” which in effect made us “double dry”.
    Federal / Territory liaison left much to be desired and still does.
    We had two concurrent systems operating. The NT Liquor Commission continued to issue drinking permits (to whitefellows). We even had our Government Business Manager disingenuously email us to donate and join him in the Febfast challenge (an online money raising campaign that encourages participants to give up grog during February).
    As for the casino, you’re right Ralph, that genie got out the bottle ages ago. Perhaps I should have used other examples like MacDonald’s and Cash Converters.
    So yes, you may be right, grog sales on communities is an idea whose time has come.
    As for inviting tenders for some mob (including major accountancy firms!) to come and talk to us (presumably at great expense) that is a typical ticking the box exercise aimed at having someone to blame when it all goes pear shaped.

  5. I have posed the question for decades:
    In which environment will a person most likely develop healthy use of alcohol knowledge?
    1. In an out of sight bush camp without sanitation away from family and help drinking with strangers?
    2. Or in a licensed club in your own community surrounded by family and friends with rules established locally and help nearby?

  6. What’s the problem folks. In the ACT, Canberra, one is allowed to buy, obtain and consume heroin, ice, cocaine, marijuana and any other mind, behaviour destroying shit.
    If the Greens get in to power our remote communities will get anything they want. For God’s sake, solve the problem at hand now before it’s too late.

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