A 24.5% decrease in alcohol-related Emergency Department presentations in NT hospitals in December 2018 compared to December 2017 show alcohol reforms are working, writes Natasha Fyles, Attorney-General and Minister for Health.
Bring back an independent liquor commission, lobby the Feds for a volumetric tax, law for 400 square meter floor limit to go, and a floor price on alcohol products to prevent alcohol related harms, writes Natasha Fyles, Attorney-General and Minister for Health.
At best it's a constructive reality check. At worst it's a case of those “best laid plans ..." as Alcohol Mandatory Treatment becomes less mandatory but – hopefully – more workable. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The NT Government continues to focus its alcohol policy reforms on "problem drinkers", seen as those who commit alcohol-related crime.
Minister for Alcohol Policy, Delia Lawrie, has introduced legislation to Territory parliament that gives police and the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Tribunal "additional tools to get problem drinkers out of public places and into rehabilitation".
Police will have the power to issue an infringement notice to people drinking in a public place within two kilometres of licensed premises and causing a nuisance to other persons. This will be in in addition to their existing power to tip out grog.
The infringement notice will be linked to the Banned Drinker Register, increasing "the ability of police to target repeat offenders and direct them into treatment".
The AOD Tribunal will be able to force problem drinkers into rehabilitation and also to make orders that a person be subject to income management.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Conservative British Government proposing to introduce a floor price for alcohol in the UK, a floor price at least for the NT has again become a hot debating point. – Kieran Finnane
Adam Giles slams Feds giving themselves new alcohol reform powers in NT
The Australian Government will add to the ways in which it tells the Northern Territory Government what to do with new measures to tackle alcohol abuse just announced.
It's a move vehemently criticised by Shadow Minister for Central Australia, Adam Giles (pictured), who says the "Territory Labor Government has again ceded its sovereignty to the Commonwealth as a direct result of its failure to bring about improvements in living conditions on Aboriginal communities."
The NT's most recent alcohol reforms have been packaged under the banner Enough is Enough but they are clearly not enough, in the view of Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.
The Stronger Futures legislation, being introduced into the national parliament today, will give her new power to request that the NT appoint independent assessors to look into licensed venues that are contributing to significant alcohol related harm to Aboriginal people through their serving practices.
“If the independent assessors find that the venues are disproportionately contributing to alcohol related harm to Aboriginal people, the Australian Government will work with the Northern Territory Government to ensure the practices of those venues change,” she says.
Specific venues are not mentioned in the government's announcement but the so-called 'animal bars' (video below) of Alice Springs have been the subject of controversy, with strong criticism of their mode of operation aired in the national media, and would seem likely candidates for scrutiny. – Kieran Finnane