Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

New alcohol restrictions to take effect in NT

Alcohol bans will come into effect in the Northern Territory on Saturday, 15 September 2007 as part of the Australian Government’s Emergency response to child abuse in Aboriginal communities.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today reiterated that alcohol would be banned on Aboriginal land and community living areas, in all town camps and other areas.

“These measures are vitally important to stem the flow of alcohol that has been destroying Aboriginal communities and putting children at risk,” Mr Brough said.

“There will be penalties for anyone possessing, transporting or drinking alcohol in these areas, and heavier penalties if people are found to be running alcohol into these places.

“We are determined to get the grog runners – the people who profit from the misery they inflict on vulnerable people and to help do this, we are introducing new take away measures across the whole Territory.

“We are introducing some minor adjustments to the legislation this week following discussions with the liquor and tourism industries. We have listened to their concerns and are responding appropriately.

“Anyone who buys larger amounts of take away alcohol will need to show identification and have their details recorded, so we can track down and prosecute grog runners. This will involve purchases of $100 or more, or if more than five litres of cask or flagon wine is purchased.

“We are making these changes so the law is workable and easy to understand for everyone, while ensuring we do not dilute the impact of these important measures.

“Legitimate tourism operators in National Parks will be able to continue to offer responsible alcohol consumption as part of their usual tourism activity. Special arrangements will be put in place at Uluru.

“The Howard Government is willing to be flexible, but is also committed to ensuring these laws protect children,” Mr Brough said.