Alcohol bans

The Little Children are Sacred report identified alcohol abuse as the 'gravest and fastest growing threat to the safety of Aboriginal children'.

The former Australian Government legislated to modify the Northern Territory Liquor Act, creating obligations, penalties and requirements that apply in the Northern Territory. These laws have been in force since 15 September 2007.

In prescribed areas, there is a ban on having, selling, transporting and drinking liquor. Penalties are tougher for people intending to sell liquor.

Some clubs (licensed premises) in communities are allowed to operate under strict conditions, and liquor permits remain, though their operation is being closely monitored.

Across the Northern Territory, all people buying take-away liquor above a certain quantity at one time have to show identification, have their addresses recorded and declare where the liquor will be consumed. The aim is to prevent the trafficking of alcohol into prescribed areas.

The legislation provides for the bans to stay in place for five years, but allows the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to switch off the measures at any time.

Expanded alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation services are also being provided.

Indigenous people in the Northern Territory were consulted about this measure between June and August 2009. Additional information can be found in the discussion paper, Future Directions for the Northern Territory Emergency Response.


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