The Northern Territory news Sat 23 Jan 2010
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
24 Northern Territory News, Saturday, January 23, 2010 www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 3 -J A N -2 0 1 0 P A G E : 2 4 C O L O R : C M Y K Change your world and the worlds of others www.changeyourworld.com.au Now you can change your life without changing your lifestyle by studying psychology, social work or humanitarian studies at Charles Darwin University. If you want to develop your interest, or career, in psychology, community services, humanitarian aid, welfare, or other related professions, you can apply to study at CDU. CDU offers a range of pathways into university. If you hold a diploma in a related fi eld or TAFE Certifi cate IV, we may offer credit towards your undergraduate degree. This gives you the opportunity to fast track your studies by up to one year. Courses are offered externally (both part-time and full-time) with fl exible study paths, which means you can balance study, work and family. 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Bachelor of Behavioural Science Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies Bachelor of Social Work Graduate Diploma in Psychology Courses available: Behind scenes players VIOLENCE: The front page of the Northern Territory News on Saturday, January 16, addressed the NTs growing problem of alcohol-fuelled violence ROLE TO PLAY: Licensees, the NT Licensing Commission and the NT Government all have a role to play in curbing binge drinking Not surprisingly, the NTalso has the highest levels of alcohol-related harm, whether measured by assaults, emergency department admissions, or alcohol-related road crashes Y OUR investigation of alcohol-fuelled violence associated with nightclubs and other late night venues (Stop This Madness, Northern Territory News, January 16) is a welcome attempt to throw a spotlight on an ugly social problem. But the inquiry did not cast its light widely enough. The article talked about two sets of players who help to shape what happens in these settings: drinkers, some of whom as the NT News rightly remarks set out to get drunk, and the police, who have to work with whatever resources are made available to them to try to maintain public order. There are also, however, three other sets of players whose roles are no less crucial, but who were largely overlooked. These are, firstly, the licensees who profit from selling the alcohol; secondly, the regulatory authority the NT Licensing Commission charged with regulating the marketplace so that the pursuit of private profit doesnt result in public mayhem, and NT Government, responsible for creating and resourcing the policies and programs needed to minimise and manage alcoholrelated problems. Without these three agents, as well as drinkers and police, doing their job, appeals to change drinking cultures amount to little more than a smokescreen, behind which binge drinkers and those who serve them continue on their merry way. So how does the NT look if we widen our focus a little? For as long as people have been keeping records, the NT has recorded alcohol consumption levels well above the national average. In 2008, NT Department of Justice said per capita consumption of alcohol (that is, the total recorded wholesale supply of alcohol, divided by the ABS Estimated Resident Population aged 15-plus years, and adjusted for the presence of tourists) was equivalent to 14.5 litres of absolute alcohol almost half as much again as the 2007-08 national figure of 9.95 litres. Not surprisingly, the NT also has the highest levels of alcoholrelated harm, whether measured by assaults, emergency department admissions, or alcohol-related road crashes. While indigenous drinkers contribute they are hardly the mainstay of, say, the Darwin nightclub industry. Across the NT as a whole, per capita consumption high though it is has actually decreased slightly since reaching a peak of 15.3L in 2004. But not in Darwin or Palmerston: here, in contrast to the rest of the NT, sales of alcohol continue to climb. Between 2001 and 2008 (again, citing NT Department of Justice figures) sales of alcohol in Darwin city grew by an average 3.1 per cent per annum, and in Palmerston by 5.8 per cent per annum. Over the same period, annual population growth in the two centres averaged 1.3 per cent and 4 per cent respectively. In other words, growth in alcohol sales outstripped population growth in both centres. In Alice Springs, which recorded a similar population trend to Darwin City between 2001 and 2008, alcohol sales declined by an average of 2 per cent per annum, while Katherine, Tennant Creek and Nhulunbuy have also all recorded decreasing sales in recent years. SOLVING alcohol-fuelled violence requires political leadership as well as cultural change, writes NT Professor PETER dABBS
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