Government In Denial Over Alcohol Problem

Government In Denial Over Alcohol Problem

Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy Peter Styles

Labor Must Scrap Failed Grog Bans

Victor P Taffa

The Government needs to reassess its focus on alcohol bans and supply-based solutions to the Territory’s grog problem in light of serious questions being raised about the effectiveness of criticisms the Katherine Alcohol Management Plan.

Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy, Peter Styles, said the Menzies Institute Report found the Katherine AMP had failed to curb alcohol related assaults or reduce public drunkenness.

“While the report did point to reductions in alcohol consumption, the overwhelming conclusion is that reducing the supply of alcohol in Katherine had no significant impact on violence and anti-social behaviour.” Mr. Styles said.

“The report’s conclusion that grog bans only affect behaviour for a short time, supports the Country Liberals’ assertion that alcoholics will always source grog if they want it badly enough.”

“The Government’s current approach is to penalise the overwhelming majority of people who enjoy a quiet drink at home by limiting the sale of alcohol in a bid to restrict the access of problem drinkers.” Mr. Styles said.

“If this approach hasn’t worked in Katherine, why should we trust the Government when it says it’s working in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek?”

“Violent crime in Alice Springs increased by 25% last financial year and there were 200 more assaults in Alice than in Darwin. Violent crime in Tennant Creek increased by 16% over the same period.”

“Anecdotally, there are still serious problems with anti-social behaviour in Alice and Tennant.” Mr. Styles said.

“The Government should instead focus on increasing the number of rehabilitation places in the community and reducing the demand for grog, rather than trying to reduce the supply.”

“The Country Liberals Policy would see anybody placed in protective custody three times in six months issued with a mandatory rehabilitation order.” Mr. Styles said.

“The failure to follow the conditions of the order would result in that person undertaking a prison farm-based Rehabilitation Program.”

“The Government must scrap its grog restrictions and ditch plans to introduce a floor price on alcohol, which could see the price of some alcohol products double.” Mr. Styles said.