Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Alcohol, NT Banned Drinking Register: ABC Darwin

Program: ABC Darwin

INTERVIEWER: Will the infamous animal bars of Alice Springs be a thing of the past. The Federal Government wants to clean up the NT when it comes to grog and they’re looking straight to our pubs and hotels. Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin has said there are two Alice bars that will be, well she’s calling on the Northern Territory Government to assess them.

JENNY MACKLIN: We are concerned with the allegations of harm that’s been done to people in Alice Springs by a number of hotels. And so we have written, I have written to the Chief Minister, asking that assessors be appointed by the Northern Territory Government to make a proper assessment of the licensing conditions, make a proper assessment of the business practices, and the harm that is being done to people in Alice Springs.

INTERVIEWER: What do you mean by a proper assessment of the licensing conditions and business practices?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well to make sure that the licensing conditions that have been imposed are in fact making sure that the level of harm that we’re hearing about could be reduced. So whether or not there should be changes to the licensing conditions, those sorts of issues.

INTERVIEWER: But restrictions have already been placed on these two so called animal bars, do you want to see more restrictions?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well that’s really a matter for the assessment and that’s why I’ve written to the Chief Minister asking that this proper assessment be done.

INTERVIEWER: So it’s the Gap View and the Todd Tavern?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I don’t want to talk about the particulars publically. I want to discuss that with the Northern Territory Government and go through the process with them.

INTERVIEWER: But will cleaning up the bars really reduce the problem or just sweep it under the carpet?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I think we all know that we need to act on many fronts to deal with alcohol abuse, and I heard people from Aboriginal organisations both last night and today, saying exactly that. But of course we need to make sure that our alcohol management plans are effective. We need to make sure that the safe and sober work that we’re doing with Congress for example in Alice Springs continues, that we of course provide support for rehabilitation. So we have to act on many fronts. As you know, I’ve called and the Prime Minister has called for the Banned Drinkers Register to be reinstated. We think each of these measures together helps make sure that we address the very serious harm that Aboriginal people tell me is something they just want to see addressed urgently.

INTERVIEWER: Well you probably heard that the Northern Territory Government has refused to reinstate the Banned Drinkers Register. Are you going to keep pushing for liquor reforms and controls and what will you do if they continue to refuse?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well Aboriginal people want us to, and they want us to work together on this issue. The Banned Drinkers Register was Northern Territory law and I would like to see the Northern Territory Government reconsider this matter. I do think the evidence shows it was helpful. Of course, by itself it’s not a silver bullet, nobody’s suggesting it was. But it was helpful.

INTERVIEWER: That’s Jenny Macklin the Indigenous Affairs Minister explaining how she’s calling for an assessment of two bars in Alice Springs. Now we’re kind of assuming that one of those bars is the Gap View Hotel in Alice Springs, it’s been described as an animal bar in the past because the amount of alcohol that it sells to Indigenous people who it’s believed then cause a lot of problems with anti-social behaviour and violence. Di Leckle is the Proprietor of the Gap View Hotel in Alice Springs. Di, good morning.