Where do the major parties and sitting independents stand on alcohol policy measures this election?
On 9 August, PAAC and FARE wrote to the major political parties and sitting independents contesting the 2016 Northern Territory Election.
The parties were asked to respond to five questions on alcohol policy, based on the Northern Territory 2016 election platform: Calling time on too much grog in the NT developed by PAAC and FARE.
PAAC and FARE developed an alcohol policy scorecard based on their responses.
The questions were:
① Do you/Does your party support the reintroduction of the Banned Drinkers’ Register in conjunction with scanning of photo identification cards in all licensed venues?
② Do you/ Does your party support the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol equivalent to the existing minimum price of takeaway full-strength beer, currently at approximately $1.30 per standard drink?
③ Do you/ Does your party support the development of a response to the final report of the Select Committee on Action to Prevent Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and its 26 recommendations, including funded action to prevent, diagnose and manage FASD in the Northern Territory?
④ Do you/ Does your party support the introduction of a risk-based licensing scheme for liquor licensing in the Northern Territory?
⑤ Do you/ Does your party support the ban on political donations made by the alcohol industry and their representatives?
Election platform overview
Alcohol-related harm is one of the Territory’s greatest health challenges. Alcohol is responsible for two deaths, 52 hospitalisations and 69 assaults every week in the Northern Territory (NT). The Northern Territory has the highest proportion of people in Australia who drink daily and the lowest proportion of non-drinkers.
The Northern Territory needs a comprehensive approach to reducing alcohol-related harm that focuses on targeting alcohol’s availability, supporting community initiatives, and supporting those who are affected by alcohol problems. Governments cannot on the one hand say they are concerned about alcohol consumption levels while continuing to approve liquor licences and relax regulation. This plan must be embraced by all sides of politics to ensure that it lasts beyond political cycles.
It is time to address excessive grog consumption in the Territory in an intelligent, properly planned, evidence-based way that looks past headlines and election cycles, towards a future without the devastation we’ve seen for so long. This change must be led by a government with a strong commitment to action. Future generations depend on this change.
The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC), based in Alice Springs, and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) have developed an election platform highlighting the extent of alcohol-related harm in the Northern Territory and putting forward a comprehensive plan of action. PAAC and FARE call for all political parties to commit to the nine priority areas and 18 actions identified in this platform.