” The Territory Labor Government has outlined sweeping alcohol reforms to achieve generational change, in today’s response to the Riley Review into alcohol policy and legislation.
The Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said there’s too much alcohol fuelled violence and crime in the Territory, it affects every community and it has to be addressed. See Part 1 full NT Govt Press Release : Part 4 Download 3 reports
“ Following the tragic events that have occurred in Tennant Creek in the last fortnight, the most tragic of which has received national media attention, AMSANT reinforces the need to continue to support the nation-leading reforms being undertaken by the Northern Territory Government.
Everyone has acknowledged in all media coverage that the current upsurge in domestic and other violence that has occurred in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine is alcohol caused.
The NT Government is in the process of implementing world-leading alcohol policy reforms following the Riley review. Reforms of this magnitude do not happen overnight and AMSANT understands this,”
AMSANT CEO, John Paterson see full press release Part 2 or HERE
” The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, the Government has announced.
On Tuesday morning, the NT Government unveiled its response to a wide-ranging alcohol review commissioned by former NT Supreme Court chief justice Trevor Riley, and said it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages.”
Northern Territory to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol see Part 3 or View HERE
ABC NT Media Report
Graphic price comparison from The Australian 28 Feb
Update 10.00 Am 28 February
Licensing – Further restrictions on sale of takeaway alcohol in Tennant Creek
The Director-General of Licensing Cindy Bravos has acted to further restrict the sale of takeaway alcohol in Tennant Creek effective 28 February 2018, for the next seven days.
The restrictions will apply to the six venues currently licensed to sell takeaway alcohol, being:
Tennant Creek Hotel
Headframe Bottle Shop
Sporties Club Incorporated
Tennant Creek Golf Club Incorporated
Tennant Creek Memorial Club Incorporated.
Ms Bravos said her decision was in response to widespread concerns about the significant increase of alcohol related offences, particularly domestic violence incidents, in Tennant Creek over the past four weeks.
“Licensing NT has an important role in supporting the right of all Territory residents to live in a safe community,” Ms Bravos said.
“For the next seven days takeaway sales will only be available between 3pm and 6pm Monday to Saturday and all takeaway sales will be banned on Sunday.
There will also be limits on the amount of takeaway alcohol that can be purchased per person per day.
“These restrictions will be in place for seven days. I will then assess their effectiveness and the options available for implementing longer term measures if the restrictions prove to be successful in reducing the levels of harm associated with the consumption of alcohol in Tennant Creek.”
The varied conditions of the licences impose these restrictions:
Takeaway liquor will only be available for sale Monday through to Saturday between the hours of 3pm and 6pm. Takeaway liquor sales on Sunday is prohibited.
Sale of these products will be limited to no more than one of the following per person per day:
30 cans or stubbies of mid-strength or light beer; or
24 cans or stubbies of full strength beer; or
12 cans or bottles of Ready to Drink mixes; or
One two litre cask of wine; or
One bottle of fortified wine; or
One bottle of green ginger wine; or
Two x 750 ml bottles of wine; or
One 750 ml bottle of spirits.
The sale of port, wine in a glass container larger than 1 litre and beer in bottles of 750ml or more remains prohibited.
Part 1 NT Government Press Release
“ Territorians want and deserve safe communities and today we are releasing the most comprehensive framework in the Territory’s history to tackle the Territory’s number one social issue.
We promised Territorians we would take an evidence based approach to tackling alcohol related harm and the government’s response to the Riley Review provides a road map to address that.
The Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19, also released today, provides a critical framework for how more recommendations will be progressed over the coming year.”
Minister Fyles was handed the Riley Review in October 2017, giving in-principle support to consider implementing all but one recommendation around a total ban on the trade of take away alcohol on Sunday.
Today’s detailed response now outlines the government:
- SUPPORTS 186 recommendations to be implemented in full
- Gives IN-PRINCIPLE SUPPORT to 33 recommendations
Minister Fyles said work is well underway with 22 Recommendations completed and a further 74 in progress.
“We have worked efficiently to reintroduce the Liquor Commission, establish a community impact test for significant liquor licensing decisions, extend and expand a moratorium on all new takeaway liquor licences and establish a unit in the Department of the Chief Minister to drive reforms (the Alcohol Review Implementation Team- ARIT).
“There is still considerable work to be done in consultation and modelling to address the 33 recommendations that we support in-principle. While we support the outcomes of these recommendations, we’ll work with community and stakeholders to consider the best possible models of implementation for the Territory context.”
Territorians are urged to review the government’s plan to tackle alcohol fuelled violence and crime and provide feedback at www.alcoholreform.nt.gov.au
Part 2 AMSANT Press Release
Following the tragic events that have occurred in Tennant Creek in the last fortnight, the most tragic of which has received national media attention, AMSANT CEO, John Paterson today reinforced the need to continue to support the nation-leading reforms being undertaken by the Northern Territory Government.
“Everyone has acknowledged in all media coverage that the current upsurge in domestic and other violence that has occurred in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine is alcohol caused. The NT Government is in the process of implementing world-leading alcohol policy reforms following the Riley review. Reforms of this magnitude do not happen overnight and AMSANT understands this,” he said.
“However, the immediate increase in alcohol consumption and violence has primarily been caused by the police walking away from the alcohol outlets in terms of full time POSIs or what is known as “lock down”. The government and the people of the NT have been badly let down by our police force and the buck must stop with the Commissioner.
“The ‘on again off again’ approach to point of sale supply reduction is not effective and we are seeing the results of this across the NT but mainly in the regional centres in which full time POSIs had made such a dramatic difference – reducing interpersonal violence by up to 70%.
“AMSANT also understands better than most that there are major problems in the NT Child Protection system,” he continued.
“Along with others, we have offered many solutions to these problems which have been endorsed by the recent Royal Commission. These include the need for an increased investment in parenting, family support services and other early childhood services and much more action on the broader social determinants of these problems such as unemployment and overcrowding. The NT Government has not sat back but has established a new department to lead the large-scale reforms that we know are desperately need in child protection and youth justice and has other major plans in early childhood, housing and other key social determinants.
“In this process, we are confident Aboriginal leaders will be listened to and we can ensure that when our children need to be removed they are placed with kinship carers in their extended families. We can also do much better at preventing our children and families reaching these crisis points and we have the blueprint for change and a government that is up to the task. Again, these reforms will take time to implement as successive governments in the past have failed to listen to Aboriginal leaders and do what is needed.
“In terms of child protection, there should be no need to remind people that the key cause of child neglect is alcohol abuse amongst parents. It is not the only cause, as parental education, mental illness, overcrowding and other social determinants also contribute, but action on alcohol supply will
make an immediate difference in preventing the removal of more our children and helping families recover and keep their children.
“This take us back to the failure of the Police Commissioner to do his job in protecting public safety and maintaining law and order.
“We must implement the Riley review and the many relevant recommendations of the Royal Commission as quickly as is possible but for now, full-time POSIs is one of the most immediate and effective ways to make a difference and the Commissioner must stop deferring to the Police Association and instruct his force to get back on the outlets all day, every day,” this is his duty.
“Finally, there needs to be an immediate needs-based investment in Tennant Creek through our member service Anyinginyi Health Service to deliver important service and programs in accordance with the views of the local Aboriginal community”.
Part 3 The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, the Government has announced.
On Tuesday morning, the NT Government unveiled its response to a wide-ranging alcohol review commissioned by former NT Supreme Court chief justice Trevor Riley, and said it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages.
The recommendation was for a $1.50 floor price, NT attorney-General Natasha Fyles told Mix 104.9 in Darwin, and the Government hopes to have it in place by July 1.
“$1.30 doesn’t affect the price of beer but it will get rid of that cheap wine, we see wine that costs less than a bottle of water… and that is just not acceptable,” Ms Fyles said.
“A bottle of wine has on average around seven alcohol units per bottle, so it’s $1.30 per unit of alcohol. That would put a bottle of wine around $9, $10, so you won’t see that $4 and $5 bottle of wine.”
Ms Fyles said the price of beer would not be affected because it already retailed at a higher cost; neither will the cost of spirits be changed.
“It’s getting rid of cheap wine, particularly, that has a higher alcohol content of beer, so it affects [people] quicker,” Ms Fyles said.
She said the NT Liquor Act was “ad hoc and not fit for purpose” and would be rewritten over the next year, and that a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 would be introduced for people operating boats; there is currently no drinking limit for skippers.
Major recommendations of the Riley Review:
- The NT Liquor Act be rewritten
- Immediate moratorium on takeaway liquor licences
- Reduce grocery stores selling alcohol by phasing out store licences
- Floor price/volumetric tax on alcohol products designed to reduce availability of cheap alcohol
- Shift away from floor size restrictions for liquor outlets and repeal 400-square-metre restrictions
- Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission
- Legislating to make it an offence for someone to operate a boat or other vessel while over the limit
- Establish an alcohol research body in the NT
- Trial a safe spaces program where people can manage their consumption and seek intervention
The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition has long campaigned for many of the changes, and praised the Government for its “world-leading” action.”
Of course, it’s not going to touch the price of beer; the cheapest a carton on beer sells for is about $1.48 a standard drink… at $1.30 cheap wine will still be the preferred drink of heavy drinkers.”
“Our view was we should fall in line with everything that’s in the Riley report,” he said.
Alongside parts of Canada and Scotland, the NT is one of the few jurisdictions in the world to move towards legislating a floor price for alcohol.In his review, Mr Riley said the NT had the highest per-capita rate of alcohol consumption in Australia, one of the highest in the world, and the highest rate of hospitalisations due to alcohol misuse.
In 2004-2005, the total social cost of alcohol in the NT was estimated to be $642 million, or $4,197 per adult, compared to a national estimate of $943 per adult.
Ms Fyles denied the Government had brought forward the legislation as a response to the spike.186 of the recommendations will be implemented in full, with in-principle support for a further 33 recommendations, Ms Fyles said.
“There’s many Territorians that do the right thing and they should be able to access the beverage of their choice, but when we know the harm it causes it’s important we put in place the recommendations of the Riley review,” she said.
The increase in the cost of alcoholic beverages will benefit alcohol retailers, as it is not a tax.
The volumetric tax has been identified as the preferable measure but the Federal Government has refused to move on that so we are taking the step of putting in place a price measure that has shown to have an impact on the consumption of alcohol,” she said.
Making voluntary liquor accords law
In Central Australia, the minimum price for a standard drink is already $1 under the accords.NT Police patrolling bottle shops”
It’s a package of measures which is going to be a watershed moment for addressing the scourge alcohol is causing in Tennant Creek,” Dr Boffa said.”
They should be instructing police to keep those police officers in front of bottle shops until they have liquor inspectors there… I would have seen them as a bigger priority than the establishment of a liquor commission,” he said.
Dr Boffa agreed. “It’s ideological opposition — ‘drinking’s an individual responsibility, this is not the police’s job’ — that’s the message we’re getting now,” he said.”The harm that’s being caused by what the police have done in walking away from outlets is preventable. People are dying as a result of that decision
“It’s not about the workforce. Given that we now know it’s not about workforce, there’s no excuse.
He said they addressed crime and antisocial behaviour on the streets of Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, but communities recently complained that police had stopped patrolling as often in Central Australia, leading to a rise in alcohol-fuelled crime.
Mr Higgins criticised the Government’s delay in designating uniformed licensing inspectors to monitor bottle shops, and said it was was “copping out” on stationing police officers at bottle shops by saying police should determine how they resource and manage their staff.
Dr Boffa said the NT would also be a world leader in risk-based alcohol licensing, and supermarkets making more than 15 per cent of their turnover from alcohol sales would eventually be outlawed.
There are already alcohol restrictions in place in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, but they are voluntary liquor accords that are unenforceable, which the Government is seeking to formalise.
“Currently it’s $200 per liquor licence, which is cheaper than some nurses and teachers pay for their licences.”
However, Ms Fyles said the Government would increase liquor licence fees for retailers.
“These are people’s businesses, their livelihoods, and in like any industry there’s a few bad eggs that cause harm and we need to make sure in implementing these reforms we’re working with the community to ensure lasting change.”
Ms Fyles said the NT Labor Government was working through the recommendations and would be consulting the community and the alcohol industry.
Mr Riley made 220 recommendations, of which the NT Government supported all but one, refusing to ban Sunday liquor trading.
Alcohol misuse leads to crime, drink-driving, anti-social behaviour, and wider economic consequences such as adverse impacts on tourism and commercial opportunities, as seen recently in Tennant Creek with tourists repeatedly fleeing during its spike in crime.
Forty-four per cent of Territorians drink at a risky level at least once a month, compared to a quarter of people nationally.
NT has highest alcohol consumption rate in Australia
“They said they’d adopt everything that was in there… While I would have liked to see the Riley $1.50, I can live with $1.30.”
Country Liberals Party Opposition leader Gary Higgins said he broadly supported the Government’s move and felt an approach to alcohol policy should be depoliticised.
“The cheapest you can get alcohol for now in Darwin is 30 cents a standard drink, so this is a dollar more a standard drink — that’s a big change,” John Boffa said.
The Government is also looking at expanding the Banned Drinkers Register from takeaway outlets to late-night venues.
Part 4 Northern Territory Government’s Response to the Final Report
In March 2017, the Northern Territory Government commissioned the Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review to deliver an analysis of alcohol use in the Northern Territory.
The Final Report was handed down on October 2017.
Read the Northern Territory Government’s Response to the Final Report (1.3 mb).