Alcohol Restrictions: Update

Typical. I say that updates are hard to come by and 3 days later we have one.  There is an announcement regarding the alcohol restrictions which are due to come into force on Sept 15. The Minister announced some minor changes to the legislation which will be introduced this week (I presume before the 15th).  The detail is here.

The basic change is that instead of enforcing the complex 1350 ml rule, alcohol purchases of over $100 or more than 5L of cask wine will require proof of identity.  Another change is that some tourists in the NT will be able to consume alcohol within the prescribed areas. 

As Andrew Bartlett  points out, this latest announcement raises 2 issues – that the Federal Government is far more interested in the views of alcohol retailers than Aboriginal people themselves, and that the Legislation was so rushed that barely a month after being passed it needs changing. An example of the former is that the NTs peak body representing Aboriginal controlled health organizations, AMSANT, has found it impossible to get a meeting with Minister Brough.

Prohibition, policing and punishment remain the favoured methods of engagement with the issue of alcohol abuse, leaving virtually untouched an obvious target in the fight – addiction treatment services.  If ‘Social Clubs’ are to remain operating in some communities, as they appear to be, then perhaps it would be a sound strategy to ensure that alcohol treatment services are just as readily available as the ‘green can’ is.

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