Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 In order to vest appropriate authority in the program, drafting instructions for model by-laws are being prepared by the Department of Law. While these by-laws are principally a matter for individual debate within each local government jurisdiction, a range o f existing council statutes and Territory government laws will assist the operation of the program. The existing 2 km law, which prohibits the consumption of liquor in public places within 2 km of licensed premises, will be enforced under the program, and staff employed in the program will be empowered to seize alcohol being consumed in public places. The government may be required also to seek modifications to existing legislation to allow authorised staff on the program to confiscate unopened alcohol in the possession of people drinking unlawfully in public places. The government believes that the power to confiscate unopened liquor will be an important deterrent factor in preventing public drinking. Drinkers need to be made aware that, if they want to drink, they should do so responsibly at home, on licensed premises or in other suitable locations. Those who continue to drink illegally in public places cannot expect to have their liquor returned once it has been confiscated under the program. By removing the source of potential antisocial behaviour, we hope to break the day-to-day cycle of public drunkenness, police arrests and detention in protective custody. If people can be convinced to stop binge drinking in public places, I am confident that we can reduce the resultant trauma to the individual, and the unacceptably high numbers of people seeking medical attention at our hospitals. Alcohol awareness and responsible drinking programs will continue to be provided under the auspices of the Living With Alcohol program to reinforce the fight against antisocial behaviour. In developing this program, I have met with the mayors and town clerks of each council to outline the proposal and seek their support. I am pleased to report that the program has received initial support from all councils, including in-principle support to proceed. In participating in the program, it will be necessary for councils to compile statistics on the numbers of drinkers in public places in order to determine accurately the impact of this scheme on behaviour. While this program will focus initially on the major regional centres, some assistance will be available to smaller communities with the level of assistance being determined by identified needs. As I have said earlier, this is largely uncharted territory. Over the course of the program, it will be necessary periodically to review the data in order that the program can be adjusted to meet unforseen or emerging needs. Although intended as an ongoing program, progress will be assessed annually, with a major review after 5 years. The program will cost $5.5m during the first 5 years. I would like to reiterate that this proposal is innovative and is one that has not been trialed elsewhere in the country. This is an initiative designed to combat alcohol abuse in public areas and to reduce substantially antisocial behaviour and personal suffering. Alcohol abuse disrupts many aspects of Territory life and the government remains committed to reducing this destructive behaviour. I am confident that this new initiative will continue the excellent progress that has been achieved under the governments Living With Alcohol program. Mr Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I have commented about the problem of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory over many years now. I regard it as one of my 3218