In a major blow to those who promote social inclusion …

Comment on Night out on the town, and living to tell the tale by Russell Guy.

In a major blow to those who promote social inclusion by law and order without the introduction of a take-away alcohol sales free days regulation to impede the current excessive consumption in Alice, the UK Conservative government, led by David Cameron, has announced a floor price on alcohol (Guardian. 23/3/12).
Cameron, instinctively opposed to such state intervention, has been persuaded by evidence of crime and health experts on the damaging social impact of alcoholism, especially among young people.
He has overriden objections from the health secretary, Andrew Lansley. The 40p a unit minimum price could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 9,000 fewer alcohol related deaths over the next decade, the government claims.
He is also to press ahead with proposals requiring clubs and pubs to pay a levy to the police to cover the cost of alcohol-related disorder.
The government can defend itself on the basis that the action is proportionate in view of the damage to the nation’s health caused by binge drinking.
Cameron has said that “binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.
“My message is simple. We can’t go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now. When beer is cheaper than water, it’s just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub.
“So we are going to introduce a new minimum unit price – so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit.
“This isn’t about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new stealth tax – it’s about fast immediate action where universal change is needed.
“Of course, I know this won’t be universally popular. But the responsibility of being in government isn’t always about doing the popular thing. It’s about doing the right thing.”
Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, of the Association of Chief Police Officers welcomed the move. “The growing trend for ‘pre-loading’ means that young people are often drunk before they even enter a bar,” he said. “By the time they hit the streets at closing they are more likely to get involved in crime and disorder.”
Alice Springs with the same problems has been divided on a floor price. The UK government decision and Australian evidence-based statistics suggest that alcohol abuse is an underlying and separate issue to a simple law and order solution.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

National Aboriginal gallery: Town Council’s action clear as mud
I took the Victoria Hotel tour in Goondiwindi recently, led by an eighty year old local who said that much of the old town had been knocked down by “multinationals” who didn’t care about its heritage.
“They just threw the old tin on the back of a truck and took it to the tip,” he said.
I stayed at the Victoria around 1990 as a break from the swag. It was a grand old building with a main street verandah in the Australian tradition, but fell into disrepair until a few years ago when the Council colluded with a local to bring it back.
Because of the memories, I took the tour, but the town hardly resembled the way it was 30 years ago. Kinda lost its soul. Grows cotton now for export to China mostly, where they make the clothes and ship ém back.
It’s easy to understand how multinationals and mall makers can knock heritage down, but not so easy when your own government does it.
There’s a plaque on a rock near Anzac Oval dedicated to George Wilkinson who managed Wallis Fogarty’s store in Alice in the early days.
If you look carefully, you can see lots of heritage around there.
Beats me why the NAAG can’t be build somewhere else.
The CBD is chockers as it is, whether functioning or not. This is a country town like Goondiwindi, not Las Vegas, yet.
It’s easy to lose a town’s soul, if you’re not careful.


Nanny state: Tennant alcohol restrictions for Alice?
The NT Government released a press release on September 3 announcing that it was inquiring into takeaway liquor licensing regulations in the Alice Springs region after conducting an inquiry in the Barkly.
Reducing harmful levels of alcohol consumption in the NT is not “going to send people packing”.
On the contrary, I suggest that it will increase the quality of life for everyone.
The problem is easy access to alcohol and takeaway has been the biggest culprit for decades.
There is no silver bullet: The BDR and a Floor Price are part of the goal of reducing the amount of excessive alcohol consumed and the cost to the public across many portfolios, including tourism, which suggests that a figure of 99% responsible consumers is inflated.
If 1% of the population can do so much damage, and it is a generational trauma, then the status quo needs changing.
Lulling people into complacency and allowing the alcohol industry to self-regulate while alcohol-related trauma continues is irresponsible.
A nanny state would do nothing about it.
Intervention is necessary.


SA budget allocation may put paid to Alice gallery: Higgins
@ Albert Diano: Thanks for your engagement, Albert.
I encouraged “Local Centralian” to engage with Alex Nelson’s post because Alex is making a similar point to yours.
I have made the point that nurturing and encouraging (financially) the jewels of community museums and other galleries in Alice is part of establishing a stable tourist economy, with benefits for the CBD and visitation accommodation alternatives for the growing Baby Boomer domestic market, versus the high end air fares on which the government’s proposal is based.
I suggest that more cross-engagement with thematic posting would be useful in debating the points made, with thanks to the Editor for his patronage.


Gallery: national reference group appointed
@ Local1. It’s called a thematic funding window or bucket of money in the vernacular.
In Mexico, photographic exhibitions are combined with music. How revolutionary! Should be exported to the colonies.


Gallery: national reference group appointed
“In my mind and in my car, we can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far …” (Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles. 1979).


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