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 the community. I am amazed that more people are not up in arms about it but, as I said a moment ago, they have become a little numb about it all. The government recognised alcoholism as a major problem in this community a long time ago. I was very pleased to note that the government started to do something positive about it in about 1992. The Chief Minister introduced the Living With Alcohol strategy. At that time, the government placed a levy on full-strength beer and some other products. I understand some $22m has been raised through the levy. The minister said that, in this current year, about $7m will be spent on this program. We are beginning to see results. Targets were set at the time. For example, we sought to reduce alcohol-related road deaths by 50%. We have gone a long way towards achieving that. We wanted to reduce the overall consumption of alcohol by 40% over a period, and we have gone a long way towards doing that. I understand that the per capita consumption of alcohol in the Northern Territory community is down by 18%. In a community that is well known in this country for its high level of alcohol consumption and the lifestyle that goes with that, that is a remarkable achievement. Light beer consumption is up from about 1% of total beer consumption to something like 30%. That in itself is remarkable. I am quite sure that percentage will continue to increase until the consumption of light beer exceeds that of full-strength beer. Despite all of this progress, this antisocial behaviour continues. The Living With Alcohol strategy, successful as it has been, has not achieved its real goal - that is, to reduce this incidence of drunkenness and antisocial behaviour such as assaults, domestic violence etc. The people who are involved in this activity clog up our hospitals and take up the time of our police, our ambulance services and our courts. If we can intervene at the point of antisocial behaviour, before the secondary problems occur, rather as is done in respect of preventive medicine, we will do a great service to the Territory community. The minister announced that he would appoint a number of inspectors - 2 in Darwin and 1 in each of the major towns down the track. They will be equipped with vehicles, and their role will be to intervene where groups of people are drinking in public places and creating a nuisance. I understand that they will seize the alcohol and move the people on. They will have the power, the training and the authority to do that. Obviously, this initiative will free up police time, enabling officers to attend to more pressing issues. To fund this program, the minister has announced the imposition of a levy of 350 per litre on cask wine. This levy will produce considerable revenue. I was amazed when he told us that 3 million litres of cask wine are sold each year in the Northern Territory. That would be sufficient wine to fill the Parap swimming pool about 10 times! Mr Perron: A lot of headaches there. Mr SETTER: Absolutely. The aim of this program is to remove the drunks from the streets, to minimise the assaults and all the secondary problems that result from that drunkenness and to reduce dramatically the terrible litter problem. I support the ministers statement. Mr BALDWIN (Victoria River): Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise to commend the minister for his introduction of yet another initiative under the Living With Alcohol program. This new step will complement those already being taken around the Territory to address 3267