The Australian Greens said today that if the Federal Government is serious about improving conditions in the Northern Territory it must tackle the supply of alcohol.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues said today that the time was right for the Government to implement harm-reduction strategies in the NT, including the introduction a price mechanism on alcohol.
“We need the Federal Government to bite the bullet when the NT Government has refused to do so,” Senator Siewert said today.
“Better controls of liquor licences, an alcohol floor price and a minimum price per alcohol unit are all important measures which need to be given serious consideration.
“The Menzies School of Health Research has shown that alcohol related harm in the Northern Territory is more than four times the national average. Access to alcohol is one of the prime issues we need to be addressing.
“Clearly, action is needed in the Northern Territory. The time has come for the Federal Government to stand up to the alcohol industry.
“We know that a floor price on alcohol and reduced access to takeaway sales are effective measures when introduced with the community support. This has been a consistent issue and call from the community in Alice Springs for a long time. The Federal Government needs can act on pricing and needs to push the NT Government to reduce licences.
“As it stands, a lot of social harm occurs within the boundaries of ‘legal’ alcohol consumption. This is why we need to take steps which reduce the accessibility of low cost alcohol and change the culture of drinking to excess.
“The words and actions from the Government and Coalition remain focused on a ‘new intervention’ which continues the mistakes of the past and serves only to marginalise people and communities alike.
“The intervention has been implemented without community support and it does not address the underlying causes of harm.
“I hope the Prime Minister uses this visit to learn about the impact of the NT Intervention and realise that a new approach, not a new intervention is needed,” Senator Siewert concluded.