Learning from Alcohol Policy Reforms in the Northern Territory: radical interventions for radical problems
Learning from Alcohol Policy Reforms in the Northern Territory: radical interventions for radical problems,
presented by Professor Peter Miller, PhD
The social costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory equate to $1.38 billion annually. Harmful levels of alcohol consumption – both binge drinking and sustained high and moderate levels of drinking – increase the propensity for risk taking associated with violence, crime, drink driving, unsafe sex, alcoholic poisoning, drinking while pregnant and a wide raft of anti-social behaviours and chronic or acute alcohol related health conditions. The impacts of alcohol also extend to family and friends, with harms relating to domestic violence, child neglect, diminished industry productivity and other third party harm.
These understandings, alongside an independent review of NT alcohol policies and legislation, have led the Northern Territory Government to invest in a series of alcohol policy measures as part of its approach to alcohol harm minimisation, this included:
1. the reintroduction of the Banned Drinker Register (BDR). The current BDR is an explicit alcohol supply reduction measure that involves placing people that consume alcohol at harmful levels to themselves or others, onto a register which prohibits the consumption, possession or purchase of alcohol. This intervention is unique in its focus on individualised control of problems around packaged liquor, and;
2. the introduction of a Minimum Unit Price (MUP) for alcohol, sometimes referred to as the ‘minimum floor price’, to minimise the harms associated with high-alcohol, low-cost alcoholic beverages. From 1 October 2018 the minimum floor price was set at $1.30 per standard drink contained in the alcohol product.
3. investing in an additional 75 police auxiliaries to be trained as Liquor Inspectors and capable of delivering full lockdown of bottle shops in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine freeing up Police to return to the frontline.
The presentation will contain preliminary findings and discuss some of the ramifications of these findings.