The NT Government has deferred the introduction of a blood alcohol limit on Territory vessels.
A blood alcohol limit for skippers may now be considered as part of a future Maritime Safety Agenda, the government says.
Just last year Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT's water safety record was the worst in the country defending a move to bring the drink-driving limit for boat skippers into line with road users.
" ... there's plenty of research and evidence that shows if you have a 0.05 [blood alcohol reading] you aren't safe behind the wheel or behind the tiller," Mr Gunner told ABC.
The .05 limit was a recommendation of the Riley Review from 2017.
On the weekend Government also announced it was ruling out a licencing or registration regime for Territory boats.
The decision is one part of the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Plan update, released on the weekend by Attorney-General Natasha Fyles.
As part of the third and final progress report of the Alcohol Action Plan, the following major initiatives have been completed:
- Rewrite of the Liquor Act 1978
- Introduction of the floor price
- Establishment of the Northern Territory Liquor Commission
- Roll-out of Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors
- A demand study for alcohol treatment services in the NT
- Release of the first NT FASD Strategy
- Publication of alcohol-related data
The Liquor Act 2019 represents one of the most significant initiatives to date, completing over 70 recommendations of the Riley Review.
Since the release of the Riley Review in October 2017, Government has implemented 168 out of 219 accepted recommendations.
The government says its alcohol measures have led to:
- a 22% reduction in alcohol related assaults across the Territory, including a 15.5% reduction in Darwin and a 40% reduction in Alice Springs
- a 24.5% decrease in alcohol-related emergency department presentations in Northern Territory hospitals between September-December 2018, compared to 2017. That trend has continued in the first quarter this year with a 22% reduction.
- more than 17,000 litres of alcohol ear-marked for illegal secondary supply have been seized by police since the creation of the Alcohol Policing Unit
Territorians can view the reports as well as view data on the key indicators of alcohol harm minimisation at alcoholreform.nt.gov.au
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.
"In consultation with groups such as AFANT and the Seafood Council, we have decided to defer the introduction of a blood-alcohol limit for skippers.
"We feel it is logical to consider this change in light of a broader approach to maritime safety."
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