The Northern Territory government's plan to put a floor price on alcohol is a waste of time and would create a "nanny state", says former deputy chief minister Robyn Lambley.
Parliament will next week consider whether to set a minimum price of $1.30 per unit of alcohol, meaning bottles of wine in the NT couldn't be sold for less than about $9.
The Territory's residents are the nation's biggest drinkers and more likely to end up in hospital from related risky behaviour, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The bill targets cheap bottles and casks linked to alcohol-related harm and abuse, especially among some indigenous communities.
"I object to it, it is a complete waste of time and turning us into a nanny state," Ms Lambley told reporters, arguing there was little evidence to show the policy worked.
"In the last 12 months we have had a 30 per cent rise in alcohol-related assaults in Alice Springs."
But Ms Lambley, a former CLP government treasurer and now independent MLA for Araluen, blamed an increase in alcohol-related crime on the Labor government removing the policy of having takeaway alcohol stores in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine manned by police.
New auxiliary officers are being used but it is not longer compulsory.
"Since then the rivers of alcohol have been flowing freely in Alice Springs, people have been accessing alcohol freely, alcohol-related crime and social disorder has flourished again as a result and had a devastating impact," Ms Lambley said.
The extra revenue from a floor price will go to retailers too, because the Commonwealth would not allow the NT government to set the floor price as a volumetric tax.
NT Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said there was evidence from Canadian provinces with a floor price that it reduced alcohol-fuelled hospitalisations.
"Cheap $4-$5 bottles of wine will not be available in the Northern Territory, that is a product that causes so much harm in our community," she told reporters.
Australian Associated Press
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