Martin Government "proud" of track record on alcohol reform, says Stirling

Northern Territory Minister for Racing, Gaming and Licensing, Syd Stirling has announced the Martin Government is "proud" of its track record on alcohol reform.

“The Alcohol Education Rehabilitation Foundation has acknowledged this today, stating that the Territory Government is doing more than any other Government in Australia," said Mr Stirling.

According to Mr Stirling, the Territory Government is implementing the following reforms to fight alcohol abuse:

* A re-write of liquor legislation to ensure it is relevant and effective for the Territory;

* No new takeaway licenses for 12 months, and after that only in clubs and hotels;

* Introduction of new license conditions in various towns;

* Local Area Management Plans finding local solutions to local problems;

* Alcohol courts, which began two weeks ago to help break the cycle between anti-social / offending behaviour and drinking;

* Private Premises legislation allowing people to declare their own residences alcohol free, which came into effect on 1 July; and

* A study of the Mitchell St precinct to determine the optimum number of licenses.

“These are just some of the tools the Territory Government is arming itself with in the fight against alcohol abuse,” said Minister Stirling. “We are driven by a commitment to reduce the harm alcohol can cause to Territorians.

Public Dry Areas legislation discussion paper released

As part of the reforms, Mr Stirling also announced the release of a discussion paper on Public Dry Areas legislation, which will allow public areas such as neighbourhood parks to be declared dry.

"The Territory Government is inviting the community to have its say on the Public Dry Areas Legislation", Mr Stirling said.

According to Mr Stirling, the discussion paper says that under the legislation, a local government council, the Director of Licensing or the Police Commissioner will be able to make an application for a public area to be dry.

“If Public Dry Area legislation is applied there will be a penalty attached to breaching it," Mr Stirling said. "A proposed $500 fine may be imposed and the alcohol taken away. The seizure of vehicles carrying alcohol will not apply in these restricted areas.”

The Minister said the discussion paper is available for comment until 11 August 2006, before being introduced to Parliament in the August sittings.

26 July, 2006

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