AUSTRALIA RESTRICTS ALCOHOL SALES IN NORTHERN TERRITORY AMID CRIME SURGE
By Susan Lewis
Credit: Nico Smit/Unsplash
Australia has decided to restrict sales of alcohol in the country’s Northern Territory, in response to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in the region.
Under the measures, takeaway sales of alcohol will be banned on Mondays and Tuesdays, while sales will be restricted between 3 to 7pm on other days. Only one purchase will be allowed per customer per day.
The rules will be in place for an initial three-month period and apply in the town of Alice Springs, 2,000 km northwest of Sydney, and the surrounding region.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “The Australian government is working in partnership with the Northern Territory government and local communities to take action in response to the urgent challenges facing Alice Springs.
“The Northern Territory government will introduce immediate temporary restrictions on alcohol sales as a circuit-breaker measure to improve community safety in central Australia.”
Alcohol sales restrictions were only lifted last year after a 15-year ban had expired. This allowed remote communities in the area to choose whether to allow access to alcohol.
However, latest crime statistics showed that domestic violence, assaults and property damage in the region rose between 43 and 60 percent in the 12 months to November since the ban was lifted.
In the town of Alice Springs with a population of roughly 25,000, a total of 2,653 assaults were reported in the same twelve-month period.
Northern Territory chief minister Natasha Fyles added: “I do ask the community to understand we do not take these decisions lightly, but these are measures to reduce the amount of alcohol in our community.
“It is a decision that police fully support, and by reducing that amount of alcohol, we will reduce the harm.”
Local media reports said national and regional governments are considering moving to a system where communities would have to opt out of alcohol bans. A report on such a move is due to be published on 1 February.
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