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
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
26 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 6 C O L O R : C M Y K CRICOS Provider Number: 00114A Study Territory in the medicin e NORTH ERN T ERRIT ORY M EDICA L PRO GRAM From 20 11 Flinde rs Unive rsity in partners hip with Charles Darwin Universi ty is offe ring its G raduate Entry M edical Pr ogram in the Norther n Territo ry. Now you no long er need to leave the Territory to study medicin e. To fi nd o ut abou t studyin g medic ine in the NT c ome to o ur inform ation se ssion in Alice S prings. When: W ednesda y, 27 Jan uary 201 0 Time: 5p m Where: Lecture Theatre 1, Centre for Remote Health Building , Simpso n St, Alice Sp rings Refreshm ents wil l be prov ided. For mor e inform ation go to www.fl i nders.ed u.au/me dical-co urse or conta ct Norther n Territo ry Clinic al Schoo l P: 8922 7 937 E: eliza.g ill@fl ind ers.edu. au Dangerousminority Licensees not ones to blame DEFIANT: Australian Hotels Association NT branch president Mick Burns The facts are thatthe number of antisocial and violent incidences in and around the Darwin CBD late at night has actually decreased over the past few years I REFER to the Northern Territory News front page and Saturday Extra on January 16, 2010 related to violence in Darwin Streets. This story and others like it that often appear in the NT News do not accurately reflect the issues that currently face industry and the community regarding both alcohol and violence. As a hotelier I hope I can provide you and your readers with a factual perspective on these problems. I have been an hotelier in the Territory for 25 years and Im currently the president of the Northern Territory Branch of the Australian Hotels Association. I have watched over the years as licensed venues across the Territory have been subjected to ever increasing regulation. Despite this, our problems as a community appear to be worse. The alcohol- fuelled violence campaigns that the NT News and other commentators continue to run are not only inaccurate but they do nothing but damage the Territorys reputation as an attractive tourist destination. Mitchell St and the Darwin CBD attract thousands of people on a nightly basis both locals and tourists alike. On any given Friday or Saturday night this precinct will draw 5000 to 8000 people sometimes up to 10 per cent of the greater Darwin Areas population. Despite this, the precinct is not the dangerous place that the NT News continually reports. The facts are that the number of anti-social and violent incidences in and around the Darwin CBD late at night has actually decreased over the past few years. This has been achieved through industry, government and police working together and in particular greater police presence with the establishment of a dedicated City Safe Unit. We reject the criticism from some members of the community that police resources should not be utilised for this purpose. Surely a strong police presence in a precinct that attracts near to 10 per cent of the population of Darwin at night for an evening of fun and entertainment is an appropriate use of police resources? After all, the community has embraced other dedicated police services to precincts that attract large crowds such as Casuarina Shopping Centre. Unfortunately, this need for a stronger police presence merely reflects the current state of law and order in our community. Its the old story that when a bus driver gets assaulted at the Casuarina Bus Exchange or a woman gets assaulted on her morning walk in Palmerston its a community problem, but when an assault occurs in Mitchell St or in or near any licensed establishment in the Territory, the finger is pointed wholly and solely at the hotels and nightclubs despite the circumstances surrounding the incident. The same applies with the minors of today. A 16 or 17 year old involved in anti-social or violent behaviour in our suburbs is a community problem but as soon as they turn 18 it becomes a liquor problem clearly the behaviour of these youths doesnt change because of a birthday, does it? Real change will only occur when the NT News and the community looks at violent or anti-social behaviour as a personal responsibility and accountability issue and not solely the fault of licensed venues. We accept our industry does have an important role to play. In a recent media release issued by the Northern Territory Police, acting Commissioner Bruce Wernham stated that the criminal and anti-social behaviour resulting from binge drinking and the drinking to get drunk culture in the Territory urban centres needs to stop. This is a statement fully endorsed by industry. However, a real partnership is required if we are to achieve this. The call for reduced trading hours, the removal of glass from licensed venues and banning happy hours is certainly not going to achieve the mutually desired outcome that the police, government and industry all want. All this will do is punish the responsible majority, make the liquor industry less commercial and displace late night revellers to suburban homes and beach parties. It must be recognised that drinking is not the problem, getting drunk is. The overwhelming majority of our community who frequent Darwin City or any other precinct or licensed venue across the Territory are law abiding citizens, treat others with respect and can partake in a social occasion in a responsible manner. On occasions some individuals cause problems. This is this very small minority who disrespect the law, themselves and others. We need to concentrate our collective efforts and focus on this group through detection and deterrents that keep them away from these precincts. We should not be punishing the whole community for the behavioural issues of just a few. If industry, police and government can work together with this in mind, we can stop these thugs ruining the legitimate fun of the majority that do the right thing. MICK BURNS, president of the NT branch of the Australian Hotels Association discusses the increasing amount of regulation hoteliers face in the Territory
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