THE NT Government says the new Banned Drinkers Register will help ease pressures on frontline health workers by reducing the supply of alcohol to those who cause so much harm.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said Territorians have the right to access the high quality services our hospitals offer.
“We’ve listened to concerns from medical professionals and community that critical resources are being diverted to deal with alcohol related harm and violence,” Ms Fyles said.
“We’re empowering Territorians by creating more pathways to the BDR.
“The new BDR unveiled last week will have new provisions allowing medical officers, families and carers to refer problem drinkers to the BDR and to the rehabilitation they need.
“While every Territorian is entitled to have a drink and enjoy that responsibly, we know too many people are drinking at dangerous levels, harming themselves, their families and their communities.
“Our paramedics and hospital staff are dealing with the highest rates of alcohol related harm and injury at rates not seen in any other jurisdiction across the country
“The Territory continues to have the highest rates of alcohol related injury and disease in the nation – the number of deaths related to alcohol in the NT is three times the national average.
“Alcohol related harm costs the Territory more than $642 million a year and that is continuing to grow.
“The BDR was scrapped by the chaotic former CLP government in 2012 – delivering a sharp spike in alcohol related harm over the two most violent years on record.
“Department records show alcohol related Emergency Department presentations peaked at over 3000 across the Territory in 2013.
“We made an election promise to Territorians that we would bring back the BDR and we are delivering on that promise
“Seventy per cent of alcohol sold in the Territory is takeaway, so we know cutting supply to problem drinkers is a key way to curb alcohol fuelled violence and crime.
From September 1 the BDR will be reinstated, with Territorians and tourists having to show ID to purchase takeaway alcohol.
Those identified as being on the BDR won’t be able to buy takeaway alcohol.
More than a thousand people will be automatically included on the BDR from day one.
That figure is expected to grow to around 2500 by Christmas.
The legislation will be introduced to parliament next month.