Katherine residents want to know why they have been singled out, along with Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, for strict alcohol control.
If alcohol abuse is such a widespread problem across the NT, why not Darwin and Palmerston as well?
Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson posed the question in NT Parliament yesterday.
"Given that alcohol is a problem right across the Territory—and I know that this will raise eyebrows but I am going to say it anyway—my constituents ask and I ask on their behalf again, why are there no PALIs in Darwin?" Ms Nelson said.
"Why are outlets in Darwin responsible for putting on their own security but the same is not required for the outlets in Katherine, Tennant Creek or Alice Springs?
"Why are the people in the northern suburbs of Darwin or in Palmerston not subject to the same alcohol control measures as the rest of the Territory?"
Ms Nelson said she asked the question on behalf of her constituents.
"I do not ask this to be controversial. I ask because this is what my constituents ask of me.
"I do not have a good answer for them. Until I have a good answer for them, I will continue to scrutinise legislation that will affect my constituents that affects my constituents, like the Bill before us today."
Ms Nelson said alcohol was still causing so much harm to our families, our communities and our economy.
"Imagine how much better our bank balance would be if we were not constantly dealing with the crime, injury, disease, homelessness and poverty that alcohol brings. Imagine being able to invest in other things like prevention, early intervention and education rather than the end results of addiction. It is utopian of me but I still think it is possible."
The Government yesterday passed new legislation to help police target the secondary supply of alcohol.
The Liquor Amendment Bill 2018 increases the powers of Police and the Liquor Commission by:
Providing powers to specialised police officers to undertake covert operations to capture, for example, anyone purchasing alcohol on behalf of someone on the BDR. This might include attempting to use a Taxi, ride share or similar service to knowingly circumvent the BDR.
Allowing Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors (PALI) to stop a vehicle and give reasonable directions to the driver or passenger to help them exercise Point Of Sale Intervention (POSI) powers. Previously, PALIs were only able to interact with patrons within the store itself.
Amending s33 of the Liquor Act to allow the Independent Liquor Commission to hold public hearings as part of the process of varying conditions of a licence
This builds on measures introduced last year to target alcohol-related crime and antisocial behaviour, such as powers allowing the Commissioner of Police to place a 48-hour suspension on licensed venues deemed to be irresponsibly selling alcohol and increasing penalties for secondary supply.
Stuart MLA Scott McConnell also spoke on the alcohol issues.
"Because there is a big mob of Aboriginal people in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine, there are special measures for the people there.
"People that I know who live in Katherine, who are Aboriginal and who have worked all their lives, get stopped at the bottle shop. White fellas are cruising through. Katherine is the place where it has been probably implemented most fairly.
"You will see in the media coverage that there are issues in Katherine because there have been line-ups where the police auxiliaries are checking everyone’s license. They are doing it very evenly. This is causing frustration because the queues can be quite considerable as everyone tends to buy their alcohol at the same time of day. There might be a big queue out the door."
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