Alcohol reforms rolled out, BDR on track

Chris McLennan
Updated September 4 2018 - 8:16am, first published August 30 2018 - 9:28am
The NT Government says the Banned Drinkers Register is working as designed.
The NT Government says the Banned Drinkers Register is working as designed.

The NT Government says its alcohol reforms are working well.

The NT Government said it was on track to deliver on all 219 recommendations of the Riley Review with 50 now completed since February and work well underway on implementing the remaining recommendations.

The recommendations signify the biggest alcohol reforms in the Territory’s history and are designed to reduce alcohol related harms and alcohol related violence and crime.

Some of the key recommendations completed to date include:

  •          Establishing an Independent Liquor Commission with public interest and community impact tests in decision making
  •          Take away license moratorium
  •          Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector legislation commenced and first intake now working in Alice Springs
  •          Floor price legislation passed and ready to commence 1 October
  •          Last Drinks survey with Police established
  •          Alcohol Reform Implementation Team established
  •          Youth AOD grants rollout
  •          Introduced Police powers to suspend liquor license for 48 hours
  •          Good Sports program operates in 87 sporting clubs
  •          Darwin Waterfront included in CBD designated area
  •          Pregnant women and alcohol use – screening and referral processes established
  •          FASD Steering committee established
  •          Early Childhood Development Plan launched

Extensive consultation is happening with Local Government, Australian Government, Industry reference groups, Liquor stores, community alcohol reference groups, industry stakeholders, and health and community stakeholders.

The past six months have seen a new level of engagement take place, including:

  •          Meetings with 129 unique organisations;
  •          Over 250 separate meetings including 693 individuals;
  •          Established 6 key working groups and they are, the Industry Reference group, Small Bars and restaurants, Liquor Act Re-Write group, Data & Evaluation group, Alcohol on the Water group and Liquor Stores, and;
  •          11 editions of the eNewsletter delivered to over 700 local key stakeholders

The NT Government’s response to the independent BDR evaluation report was also released today.

The BDR Evaluation covers the first 6 months of operation and was conducted independently by Menzies School of Health Research and released in June 2018.

Since it was rolled out, a total of 6120 persons have been placed on the BDR and as of July 31, there were 3526 people on the register.

All recommendations have been supported or supported in principle.

The next evaluation of the BDR will cover the first 12 months of operations and will be reported in December 2018.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said: “Territorians have a right to live in safe communities, and that’s why the Government has undertaken the most comprehensive alcohol reforms in the NT’s history.

“Tackling alcohol abuse and the crime and harms it causes remains the biggest social issue in the Territory. We continue to have unacceptable rates of alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour, and this is our response to tackle this issue in an evidence-based and co-ordinated approach.

“From our new auxiliary liquor inspectors monitoring our bottle shops, more police officers on the beat with stronger powers and better resources, to strengthening our liquor legislation - we are putting everything in to tackling alcohol dysfunction, to create generational change for the Northern Territory.

“The 6 month evaluation report contained a number of recommendations but also showed that the BDR is meeting its policy objectives.

“The BDR is an important part of our plan to limit the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers. It’s one of the ways we are tackling alcohol fuelled violence and crime.

“The  Government will continue to evolve and improve the BDR based on evidence, and this evaluation response provides that pathway forward.”

Chris McLennan

Chris McLennan

National Rural Property Writer

ACM national rural property writer based in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Career journalist. Multi award winner.

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