Mayor: town needs ‘full lockdown’ on bottle shops

p2512 ASTC Ryan 660

Above: Mayor Damien Ryan with, from left, Councillors Marli Banks, Glen Auricht and Jamie de Brenni at last night’s meeting. 




There was a “massive increase” in the number of glass wine and spirit bottles cashed in at the Town Council’s tip shop over summer.


It went from just under 29,000 in the previous summer (December to February) to just over 43,000 this summer – nearly 15,000 more, Mayor Damien Ryan told the government’s Alcohol Review Implementation Team at last night’s council meeting.


He also said an “unprecedented” number of plastic wine bottles had been picked up on Clean Up Australia Day in public areas between the back of the Civic Centre and Wills Terrace.


This coincided “really directly”, he said, with a less than comprehensive presence of police at bottle shops (POSIs) this summer.


He said he has “real concern” about what will happen between now and the future coverage of bottle shops by police auxiliaries, as trained Licensing Officers, announced by government yesterday.


p2512 ASTC D'Alessandro 350He asked Giovina D’Alessandro, head of the team, what guarantee there will be of “full lockdown” in the interim.


“I can’t give you that promise,” she said.


Left: Giovani D’Alessandro and Ryan Neve from the government’s Alcohol Review Implementation Team.


In fact, far from that. A “transition plan” will be built to  “phase in” the 41 auxiliaries assigned to Alice Springs (others of the 75 will go to Tennant Creek and Katherine).


She did not argue with Mayor Ryan’s use of the tip shop statistics as an indicator of increased consumption. Government has no data on alcohol sales in the Territory, an identified weakness in their data collection, something her team is working on in response to the Riley Review’s recommendations.


Consumption figures are based on information from NT wholesalers which do not capture online sales. She herself orders her wine online, she said. The team is speaking to Australia Post about how this supply source could be measured.


Neither do NT consumption figures capture the legitimate arrangements of some suppliers to source their liquor products from wholesalers interstate, she said.


Mayor Ryan said her remained “very concerned” and asked that she take the “dramatic” figures he reported back to her “area”. He reiterated the council’s full support of the Riley Review – all its recommendations – which has been conveyed in letters to the government, opposition and independent MLAs.



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9 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Psuedo Guru
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Tough problems require tough decisions. Or nothing changes. Sort this crap NOW. Age pensions to disappear as weak governments gouge funds.

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  2. Michael Dean
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Maybe instead of a BDR that just says yes or no to whether you are allowed to buy alcohol, use the technology in a different way.
    You show ID already with the BDR, but change it so it records when, where, what and how much is being purchased. From this the authorities could use the info to track down who is buying grog for others, and also track some grog runners. Just a suggestion.

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  3. Surprised!
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I agree Evelyne, 100%.
    To Local bloke, in reality a person should be able to purchase what ever is legal.
    Grog shop accountability should cease at the responsible sale of alcohol, so no serving drunks.
    Do you intend to make smoke shops accountable for smoking related diseases too?
    This is a government policy issue, that has somehow been turned around into blaming the retailers and the innocents of the population.

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  4. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Local bloke: Would that make a difference if it was expensive wine? May be it is for a party, a take away for going away for one week or two!
    Alcohol is already controlled: No cask wine, fortified wine before 6pm and limited to one bottle.
    Control! Control! It is bandaid solutions punishing the non-guilty. Fixing the cause of the illness is more difficult.

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  5. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Pseudo Guru: Pension is not welfare, most pensioners worked and spent a lifetime paying for their pensions. It’s not welfare and, when it was introduced, it was actually meant to be an entitlement.
    “The stigma of charity should be removed from the age pension. It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund,” said a very famous Australian long ago.
    Who? Former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies. When? At the time the current pension scheme was introduced.
    Menzies was Opposition Leader when then Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced a National Welfare Fund to pay for pensions, unemployment relief, child endowments, even health care with a 7.5%tax increase.
    Menzies insisted that the Compulsory Contribution (levy) should be kept completely separate; that it should be paid straight into a trust account and not mixed with the general revenue.
    The contributions made by millions of taxpayers over a half century have effectively been “stolen” by successive governments of both persuasions who could not resist the money grab – much like our superannuation funds today!
    The Coalition, supported by Labor and the Greens, has turned 180 degrees from Menzies’ view the age pension is “an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund” and portrays it as charity.
    My data come from an article of Brian Hale, former business editor of The Courier-Mail and The Australian.

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  6. Local Bloke
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:44 am

    We need to make the grog shops accountable. How can one person buy 15 bottles of cheap wine and no question asked?
    I have directly witnessed this myself at one of the IGAs. There should be a limit to how much grog you can buy, but money rules all, so nothing really changes.

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  7. Psuedo Guru
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Cashless card. For ALL pensions / dole. No grog. No Smokes. No Cash. Police are not responsible to control grog usage.

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  8. Ian Rennie
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 10:49 am

    I find the assumption that an increase in cashed in empty wine bottles can be seen as prima facie evidence of an increase of wine consumption by Aboriginals and oh yes! The ‘A’ or ‘B’ words were not seen here in the article, crikey, even blind Freddie can recognize it.
    Now shoot me down in flames, but I am just stating the ludicrously obvious, I do however state that the subject of alcohol consumption by all Territorians is indeed a serious matter in need of what some may see as draconian measures.
    The import of wines via the Post Office (by mainly whites) has been going on for some years, I find it strange actually when one looks at the cost of posting such goods. Mmm hard up for a drink hey?

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  9. Kathy
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:43 am

    If we are only going to put a bandaid on the known problem why this is happening, why not close all drive through bottle shops in Alice Springs?
    That way persons must enter the premises to get their service.

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