Don’t be fooled by Steve Brown’s rhetoric. He is …

Comment on How the new counting system may give us a more diverse town council by Russell Guy.

Don’t be fooled by Steve Brown’s rhetoric. He is on record as being in favour of winding back current alcohol restrictions. He has no solution to public alcoholism, apart from law and order. Eli Melky has similar views, involving a curfew.
The liquor commission initiated withdrawal of cheap cask wine over the weekend is an acknowledgement that further restrictions are needed. Steve Brown et al prosper at the expense of creating welfare necessity through their vision which creates excessive alcohol consumption and related harm.
I’ve given the figures for this in my article “Central Australia is perishing for a drink.” Those figures reveal how each NT adult is taxed $4200 p.a. plus the cost of services, for the privilege of voting Brown Town prosperity.
Take-away alcohol free days, a proven measure in combating alcohol-related harm, is not on their agenda. It’s more of the same waste of taxpayers money while they reap a harvest at the expense of alcoholics.
The trend in alcohol reform is towards cost recovery at the supply end. Steve Brown and his policies are economically redundant and this from the bloke who wants to “fight like hell” to take the town forward.

Russell Guy Also Commented

How the new counting system may give us a more diverse town council
Thanks, Jason. Can’t follow the logic of your comment about working in both Alice and Tennant Creek. I’ve been doing the same for the past 30-odd years.
I’ve never advocated Prohibition. You’ve picked that up from someone else. Let’s stick to what I am focussing on – Take-away sales free days.
There’s a heap of stats on the value of that and commentary going back weeks.
If you’d care to come up to speed on that and join the debate on take-away restrictions, I’d welcome that.


How the new counting system may give us a more diverse town council
Harold, it’s not that I’m opposed to the current Mayor, it’s more that I see the need for alcohol reform and wish that a candidate, any candidate would declare it’s necessity, given that the two pubs sell take-away 7 days per week, etc.
The alternative is economic madness and of course, there’s the inconvenient human toll. We know who’s overly represented there. I trust you’ve seen the figures in “Central Australia is perishing for a drink” (Google AS News Archive).
The Town Council can request that the NT Liquor Commission hold a hearing, but community-based support would be nice. The council is the local body that should stand up for the town – to coin a popular election phrase – but the fact that it doesn’t appear to be on the radar or at least, as some candidates seem to be saying, in the too hard basket, is what concerns me.
I’ve been around long enough to lose lots of Centralian friends to alcohol abuse and I miss them. It would bother me to have to lose more, not to mention their children, including those in the womb. So, it’s really a question of whether the town is interested, isn’t it?


How the new counting system may give us a more diverse town council
Jason, when you get Steve or Eli talking about the positive benefits (or the negatives if they can find any) of take-way alcohol sales free days, you’ll get my appreciation for more than taking an interest in this matter.
This is the hardest of the hard issues you talk about with a direct correlation to youth welfare. You may be aware that Steve and Eli have dodged the excessive alcohol consumption issue which numerous and widely-collected statistics reveal as unacceptable economically or in lives lost by enslavement to a legal drug.
As a youth worker, you might at least acquaint yourself with the stats (see “Central Australia is perishing for a drink”).


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Alcohol floor price may breach Australian Constitution
The fact that no action is being taken by the Winemakers Federation, preferring instead to work with the NT Government; that there have been no casks larger than two litres in the NT for several years and in Alice Springs for several more, because they are banned, we should be encouraged by their example, along with other retailers who have shown similar intent.
Tourist tipple and alcohol problems in the NT are interrelated. In a recent post, I pointed out the illogic of sacrificing current levels of visible alcohol-related harm to the tourist economy, which will only cause further decline.
The Mandatory Treatment Act (2013), since repealed, highlighted how harmful and disempowering alcohol restrictions can be, particularly where Indigenous communities have not been involved in their development.
While Steve Brown appears to consider it a “do gooder” issue and appeals for ice containment, he ignores the need for alcohol supply restriction in the general community, a product, it could be argued, of laissez faire capitalism over 50 years, culminating in corner stores trading in takeaway alcohol seven days a week.
Mr Brown compounds his approach by wishing that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was not a problem, allegedly within Indigenous communities.
It would be better if he, and others of a similar opinion, evinced the same desire for alcohol management through community coalitions backed by government regulation or government‐initiated community partnerships, which according to a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Public Health Journal, “have been successful in harnessing local knowledge and Indigenous social systems to curb the unintended impacts of alcohol regulation”.
The article revealed that improved health and social outcomes, for example, by tethering demand reduction programs to supply restrictions had been achieved.
Outrage over the disempowerment of Grey Nomads to purchase a cask of cheap wine, while the harmful use of alcohol among Territorians continues at levels in excess of the national average, ignores the possibility of a community-led solution, even when governments repeal poorly consulted legislation such as the MTA.
In the mid-1980s, Territorians died from being stabbed by glass flagons. Casks were introduced by governments working with the winemakers and less harm eventuated.
It didn’t curtail harmful levels of consumption, nor the granting of takeaway licenses, but the NT Government, acting on recommendations from Justice Riley’s Report, is facing up to the cost of those unacceptable levels and investigating ways of working with the underlying cultural problems.
Learning from history on which evidence-based legislation like soft packaging and a demand reduction floor price is based seems more appropriate than sticking one’s head in the sand.


Ice Age in Alice
Four balls coming back over the net. Policy on the run.
@ Local 1: Comparing Queensland with the NT is apples and oranges. Been crossing the border all my life, not just for a week.
@ Steve Brown: I want to see evidence for your claims, not just anecdotal. Been there.
@ John Bell: Commonsense has been missing in action and @ Paul Parker, same thing.
Tolerance, common sense and reason were the founding values of the European Enlightenment. Not going well.
Finally, to all, I speak for myself, not for PAAC, whose evidence-based campaign assisted the NT Government in micro-managing the issue of liberal alcohol supply with a floor price. The claim that it makes all alcohol more expensive is incorrect.


Ice Age in Alice
The floor price is not a “silver bullet.”
There is none. There are only a suite of measures to reduce levels of supply, including the BDR.
A floor price targets the cheapest alcohol sold, mostly cask wine, consumed by the most desperate addicts, including pregnant women.
Canada and Scotland have a floor price.
It was introduced this week in the NT after a long evidence-based campaign.
Cynicism is an easy choice, but I’ve been involved in reducing alcohol-related harm in the NT since 1986 when I produced four songs with Indigenous band, Coloured Stone for the NT Road Safety Board.
If you allow yourself to get cynical and negative about drugs, of which alcohol is one of the most prevalent, then you might as well accept the carnage as inevitable.
Take the opposition over the recent Master’s Games request by the police for light and midstrength beer.
One of your readers posted anonymously, calling those who lobby to turn the tap down a “mob” who are only interested in prohibition. That’s hysteria.
The NT Government is currently looking into the seven days a week take away grog licensing regime.
Australia has a culture of alcoholism, particularly around sport.
Changing that culture, currently costing NT taxpayers $640m p.a. is a positive step towards putting money into ice rehab.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
@ “Ray”. My argument for turning the tap down (not off, as you insinuate with your anonymous post), exposes your confusion, but it clarifies one point.
It will be hypocritical for you to point to the Indigenous as being responsible for the town’s social problems again.
While you busy yourself over being “the laughing stock of the country”, the hospital and police records continue to speak for themselves and show no sign of abating, due to what is a culture of alcoholism.
It was the police who requested light and midstrength beer be served at this sporting event.
As an attendee at last Friday’s National Police Remembrance Day, the names of those officers who were killed in the line of duty was sobering, yet they who we appoint to serve and protect are fobbed off.
Justifying the capitulation on the economy and giving back to the “community” is evidence of your confusion, but as cultural tourism is the vogue, it will be interesting to see how long before you start referring to “the section of the community that has the issue” again.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
Why such despondency, “Ray”?
The streets of Alice Springs are paved with gold if you have eyes to see.
They need not be awash with the consequences of alcoholism.
Turn the tap down (not off) and you will see how a great town can come back from fifty years of an uncapped flow.


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