Alcohol-related assaults are falling across the Territory.
The NT Government has made much of the crime falls in passing its new alcohol laws in NT Parliament this week.
The government said its alcohol strategy was already working as alcohol-related assaults in Darwin had fallen 13 per cent and 38 per cent in Alice Springs.
Police today said new crime statistics show alcohol-related assaults are steadily reducing in Katherine.
- In September 2018, alcohol related offences were up 30% (year on year data).
- In October 2018, with arrival of nine new members from College, Commander direction to re-commence performing POSI duties in Katherine.
- In December 2018, alcohol related offences had reduced from being up 30% to now being up 12% (year on year data).
- In January 2019 the first cohort of PALIs commenced in Katherine, POSI duties continued.
- In June 2019, alcohol related assaults was down 6% (year-on-year data).
Police said this is a 36% variance/reduction on year-on-year data for alcohol related assaults in a nine month period (September to June), and it's an 18% variance/reduction from when PALIs commenced in Katherine.
The government did highlight Katherine Hospital's emergency department admissions, saying "alcohol attributable" presentations had fallen 62.4 per cent in the year to June.
Police Minister Nicole Manison told Parliament this week the new liquor inspectors were having a "huge impact" in towns like Katherine.
Most of the 22 new inspectors have are already on duty in Katherine.
"Seventy-five of them in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine who are having a huge impact across the Northern Territory, and I will talk about those figures.
"They have been an important tool in tackling alcohol-related harm, doing a terrific job in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Katherine and they are making a real difference. Because the communities can see the positive difference and impact they are making, they are welcoming of that."
In launching the new liquor laws, the government said the cost attached to the misery that alcohol creates in the Northern Territory is now $1.4bn each year.
The Liquor Bill 2019 is a rewrite of the Liquor Act 1978, and achieves 70 recommendations from the Riley Review, including:
- . A risk-based licensing scheme, which rewards responsible licensees and punishes licensees who do the wrong thing
- . Establishing a dedicated Director of Liquor Licensing who will exclusively manage liquor compliance and enforcement
- . Setting response timeframes for Licensing NT and the Liquor Commission for applications and complaints, which will reduce red tape and provide certainty
- . Certainty for businesses providing complimentary drinks, such as hairdressers and jewellery stores
The Government said its alcohol reforms are having an impact on cutting violent crime in the NT through a reduction in the supply of alcohol through the Banned Drinker Register, a new Police alcohol unit and 75 new Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said: "For too long alcohol-fuelled crime and violence has had a devastating impact on our communities, homes and businesses.
"The Government's alcohol reforms are working and there has been reduction in alcohol fuelled crime right across the Territory.
"We have reduced the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers through measures like the Banned Drinkers Register, a new Police Alcohol Unit and 75 new Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors.
"While these measures are beginning to make a difference, we must continue to invest in programs and people that cut crime now and in the future."
Amendments to the Liquor Bill should not punish the majority because of the actions of a few.
Opposition leader Gary Higgins said a key concern was the Bill would blame, punish or intimidate the vast majority of Territorians and Territory businesses who do not have a problem with alcohol.
We must reject the idea that society in general is to blame for alcohol harm and instead return to the fundamental understanding that each individual should be held to account for his or her behaviourGary Higgins
"We must reject the idea that society in general is to blame for alcohol harm and instead return to the fundamental understanding that each individual should be held to account for his or her behaviour," he said.
Mr Higgins said there was also concerns the BDR and floor price contributed to secondary supply.
"There is no evidence at all to suggest that the floor price, on its own, has done anything to reduce alcohol harm in the Territory," he said.
"What it has done is increased the cost to everyday Territorians, people who do the right thing and do not have a problem with alcohol, to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine on a Friday afternoon after a long week of work.
"Instead of punishing everyone, we should be focusing on problem drinkers that are the root of alcohol-related harm in the Territory."
The Opposition has also called for an extensive evaluation of the BDR, as evidence to date suggests the BDR is having little, if any effect at all, without the continued use of point of sale interventions.
"It was interesting that, not too long after the re-introduction of the BDR and the removal of police from bottle shops around the Territory that the Gunner Labor Government decided to implement a 2016 CLP election promise and start recruiting auxiliary officers to undertake bottle shop duties, and inefficiently implemented by Labor," Mr Higgins said.
"We support this Bill, but as always, we will watch closely for any unintended consequences that may arise from this legislation."
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