Opposition wants return of NT booze rule

·2-min read

Laws banning public consumption of alochol within two kilometres of licensed premises in the Northern Territory should be reimposed to curb rising rates of drunken violence, the opposition says.

The laws were removed by the Labor government in 2019 but opposition spokesman for alcohol policy Gerald Maley says police have been left with fewer options when dealing with anti-social behaviour.

"The link between alcohol and antisocial behaviour in the Territory is plain for all to see and Labor's removal of the two-kilometre rule has harmed businesses and tourism and decreased the liveability of our communities," Mr Maley said.

"The standard that we walk past is the standard we accept and we need to give police back the authority to arrest people that consume alcohol in public, which will act as a strong deterrent."

Mr Maley said alcohol-related anti-social behaviour had increased noticably and included a brawl involving up to 15 people at a Darwin supermarket this week.

His comments come amid similar concern over a growing crime wave after an Intervention-era booze ban expired in many remote Aboriginal communities.

The NT government replaced the federal law with controversial opt-in alcohol restrictions on July 17, with social service groups warning it was a "recipe for disaster" to allow alcohol back into communities that had been dry for 15 years.

Independent MP Robyn Lambley on Wednesday called for the NT government to pause the new laws and reinstate the blanket booze ban.

She said only seven out of 400 communities, outstations and town camps had opted for restrictions and it was already having a devastating impact.

"We have seen a wave of lawlessness and problems in central Australia like we have never seen before," the member for Araluen in Alice Springs told parliament.

"We are in for a hell of a ride and everyone seems to get it apart from the government members over there."

Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has defended the opt-in system, saying it was transitional legislation that gave communities the ability to choose to continue the ban while developing management plans.

Meanwhile, federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney will meet with the NT government to discuss its liquor laws in the coming days.

The territory has the highest per capita alcohol consumption and rate of alcohol-attributable deaths in Australia, according to the NT Council of Social Service.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting