Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 25 February 1992
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 25 February 1992 Mr SPEAKER: Order! I remind the member for Greatorex that he is in the parliamentary Chamber. Mr BAILEY: Mr Speaker, during that same stream of interjections from the Chief Minister when the Leader of the Opposition was raising certain concerns, the following exchange took place. I refer members to page 2967 of the Parliamentary Record for Wednesday 13 November. The Chief Minister interjected: 'Do you want to crack down on grog or not? Be serious about it'. The Leader of the Opposition suggested an alternative and the Chief Minister again interjected: 'It is called taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Have you ever heard of that?' The Chief Minister's interjection related to the compromises that people begin to make and which, in the end, result in there being no significant alcohol policy. He has now wimped out on all the tough decisions! In today's statement, the Chief Minister said that the increased levy on heavy beer and other alcohol products was not designed to price them out of people's range so they would stop buying them. However, quite clearly, that was what he said in November. He says now that the fees were intended not to affect drinking but only to raise money. That is not the case. In the debate on Wednesday 13 November, the Chief Minister said: 'Our intention is to double the present differential in the wholesale price from the present 11.25C per can to 23.5 per can ... If someone intends to remain at the bar and guzzle, the price differential of about 50 a can might give them a distinct financial incentive to switch to light beer'. The member for Nightcliff then interjected: 'One can in 5 becomes free'. The Chief Minister went on to say that he would ensure that that significant price differential would be implemented by the hotels. However, if the Chief Minister accepts the funds from the breweries, we will not have the level of price differential between heavy and light beers that was a major part of what he was saying in November last year. If the alcohol companies agree to subsidise the cost of the alcohol reform package, how do we know that it will not be across-the-board funding that may raise the wholesale price of all alcohol products by 2<t or 3? In other words, the price of light beers will rise because of the levy in the same way as the price of heavy beers will rise. By 'levy', I mean an increase in price that the alcohol producers will have to obtain if they are to donate a significant amount of money to this government. I am concerned that we may find that the breweries will offer us support in kind but they will not offer us support in money. They will say that they will run some programs in their hotels and undertake some advertising and, therefore, they will deduct what they see as the appropriate cost of that from the alcohol reform package. In other words, the breweries will be dictating the agenda. It is important that this government maintain its commitment, in implementing the reform package, that all of the extra funds for alcohol reform, treatment and education be specified and directed through the trust account rather than being managed by other interested parties such as the breweries. It was only a short time ago that the Chief Minister organised a briefing for me, which I appreciated, from Dr Hendy and her Alcohol Policy Unit. The information provided by that unit only a very short time ago and its agenda are considerably different from what we have now. It was stated categorically that we would have a 6-can limit at roadside inns and that there would be price rises on heavy beers. Within a very short time, the Chief Minister is backing away at a rate of knots. Although I must admit, Mr Speaker ...
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