Rex, you and Jason Newman ask how many people constitute …

Comment on Grog, residential land, law & order: More power to Alice under Country Liberals, says Terry Mills. by Russell Guy.

Rex, you and Jason Newman ask how many people constitute the membership of the local, community-based People’s Alcohol Action Alliance (PAAC). I just looked at their website and it’s open for all to join, so what’s the big deal?
The “abusive drunks” you write about concern us all, which is why alcohol reform is needed. Have you read Jane Clark’s post calling for the Northside take-away licence to be revoked (below the Adam Giles pic)? She very sensibly calls for the licence to be revoked.
Your reference to “90%” of Alice residents being fed up is un-substantiated, but the Emergency Department references are more evidence as to why PAAC should be supported in its efforts to introduce a floor price and a take-away restriction.
Others are calling for this and for opening hours to be pushed back to noon, etc. PAAC is not alone. Local Aboriginal Organisations have just announced a meeting to address these issues and PAAC is calling for a public debate.
Perhaps, you could tell us whether you support the divisive comments of Cr Brown who says: “I’m not interested in debating. I’m interested in seeing PAAC gone.”
You call for uncosted rehab while ignoring alcohol reform, but I’m glad that you’ve raised the taxpayer argument which I’ve repeatedly pointed out is $15b p.a. nationally and the NT is overly represented.
However, as soon as talk of restricting supply is made, you back-off, or erroneously claim that restrictions haven’t worked. Much evidence has been presented to the contrary, but you seem to be like Cr Brown in ignoring it as well and like Terry Mills, you can’t see the link between addiction and supply.
Some of PAAC’s concerns on childhood prevention echo your own. Perhaps you should consider joining, but, in my opinion, your claim of a “100%” success rate on rehab or throw away the key, is not the best or only solution.
I would recommend that you ring around the roadhouses of the NT and ask about the Banned Drinkers Register which has been in place since January. You’ll find that it’s proving useful in giving notice to the few who are spoiling it for the many Aboriginal drinkers out bush. You may also note that the CLP wish to dismantle this and other reforms.
It’s time to take a stand alright, but for the sake of those whom you too are concerned about, I hope you get on the side of that old chestnut, common sense. They did in Newcastle and we can use restrictions successfully in Alice as well.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Grog, residential land, law & order: More power to Alice under Country Liberals, says Terry Mills.
Terry Mills and his CL cohorts still don’t comprehend the connection between irresponsible alcohol supply and addiction.
He promises to build uncosted “prison farms” while maintaining an increasing, industry-led, level of supply. The perverse logic is obvious to anyone not interested in power.
The NT is overly represented in alcohol-abuse statistics and yet our leadership pushes on, seemingly oblivious to the news which consistently shows the alcohol-related carnage of a liberal policy.
The NT Labor Government is pushing ahead with evidence-based reforms which the CLP under Mr Mills wants to dismantle. The NT will be the poorer for a lack of political will in convincing the electorate that it’s time to turn down the tap.


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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