Hal Duell is absolutely correct. Steve Brown, with respect, campaigned …

Comment on ‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’ by Russell Guy.

Hal Duell is absolutely correct.
Steve Brown, with respect, campaigned on law and order for years. He appears to have had a change of mind.
However, the idea of a youth club nursing kids 24/7 while their parents / family remain at harmful levels of consumption / dysfunction is just another white elephant in a long parade that Alice has been saddled up to.
It’s so blindingly obvious that even the government, of all people, has begun a family hotline, while they have a bet each way. It’s an absurd development.
There can be no change until the alcohol supply tap is turned down significantly and this is not just speculation, nor hearsay. I’ve observed this working in communities for more years than I care to remember.
You just cannot make any significant headway while access to alcohol remains so prevalent. Chaos breaks out and can take the form of anything from a riot to a binge, with associated assaults and deaths.
A floor price is a start, but Sunday-free takeaway, as in Tennant Creek is worth a shot for a return to some kind of peace and prosperity.
More needs to be done on turning down the tap if ideas like Steve’s are to gain any traction.

Russell Guy Also Commented

‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’
@ Travis, posted May 27th at 7:37pm.
You deserve some kind of an answer, Travis.
I can feel your anger and I can understand how you might see the alcohol restrictions as “pointing the finger at black people,” but maybe it might save some lives.
To answer some of your questions, the tap is being turned down in some states, e.g. WA, NSW and Queensland, to my knowledge.
The coward punch comes to mind and winding back on serving some drinks late at night, but to return to the NT and your question about where the “so-called leaders” were after the legal right to drink alcohol was conferred on Indigenous people fifty years ago.
Very serious mistakes were made by NT Governments during that time. Allowing the density of takeaway alcohol outlets to build up in the Alice Springs CBD and making it available seven days a week, including at roadhouses, made a lot of money, but it has devastated Indigenous people.
Why this is so is not as simple as people taking responsibility for their drinking as you say “when it was all starting to go the way it is now”.
I have my own reasons, brought about by decades of living and working with blackfellas, side by side, making many friends and learning more than I contributed.
It would be easy for me to give up coming to this site and just go away somewhere to the east, where the living is easy, but my spirit might wander.
You would think that the so-called leaders would do more to turn down the tap on takeaway alcohol they have, which is patchy.
I don’t know why they don’t get the connection to culture. Hope it helps to know that there are some of us who understand the way you feel.


‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’
@ Alice Local. Posted, 26th May.
The ABC (16/5/18) reported that there has been a “drop in family violence” under the present alcohol restrictions which include Sunday-free takeaway sales in Tennant Creek.
“Police and support agencies believe the restrictions are behind a sharp decrease in domestic violence incidents in the outback town.”
This would appear to contradict your statement about the effects of further alcohol restrictions in Alice Springs leading to an increase in criminal activity.


‘Reduce chaos: police needed at all liquor outlets’
@ Travis, posted 26th May. 7:51AM.
Not turn the tap off (prohibition), but turn it down, Travis. There’s a difference. Drinking alcohol is not a right. It’s a privilege with responsibilities under law.
That law applies to all people, regardless of race. It’s being changed because it is no longer working in the interests of everyone.
The reason why police are needed at take-away outlets is because there is a cultural issue with people drinking in areas that have been declared dry.
In many cases, this has been done at the request of people in those areas, often to avoid violence which impacts all people in Alice Springs.

@ Alice Local. Posted 26th May. 8:03AM.
You are correct about non-existent employment opportunities in some communities, but there is work available in some and it can improve.
It’s the old problem of 95% of the population living on the coastal fringe and little appropriate focus on more remote or regional areas, e.g., an agricultural and pastoral college in Alice Springs to train Indigenous workers for the industry and upgrade skills in a range of developing areas.
Your comment about “cutting alcohol take away hours and having dry days” being a “joke” may be so for you, but not for those who are alcohol dependent, nor their families and neighbours.
There are numerous reasons as to why further cuts to alcohol supply should be tried.
Sunday-free takeaway or dry days, especially on welfare payment days can minimise workload for police and authorities. It can help ease a crisis situation and allow people a chance to dry-out, maybe even give them a chance to reassess and train for employment. It can assist family dysfunction, etc., etc.
The present level of alcohol consumption in the NT has been declared as unsustainable, i.e., we can’t afford it, so things have to change.
Personally, I’m tired of losing friends to harmful levels of alcohol consumption and seeing the bush as worse for the wanderer, which is what you allude to by suggesting that criminal activity will increase.
Look at what is happening in Tennant Creek. Dry days again, years after the cessation of Thirsty Thursday. And on it goes.


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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