Road trip of reform reversing NT alcohol-fuelled harm

A road trip of reform is establishing a new Territory norm of progressively reducing alcohol-fuelled harm.

The one-year anniversary of the introduction of the country’s first Minimum Unit Price (MUP) is an opportunity to report on key successes of the NT Government’s alcohol harm minimisation plan across the major centres of Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Darwin.

The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) says the NT’s alcohol reform journey has its challenges – a bit like driving through the outback landscape – but it is definitely worth the life-saving results.

“Heading up the Stuart Highway from Alice to Tennant Creek, Katherine and on to Darwin is a unique experience, and you could say the alcohol reforms are on a similar track through the Territory,” said PAAC spokesperson Dr John Boffa.

The NT Government’s comprehensive program of reforms includes many of the 200-plus recommendations in the Review of alcohol policies and legislation (the Riley Review) headed by former Chief Justice Trevor Riley.

“Alice Springs was the first NT destination to introduce effective alcohol measures, both prior to and then in line with the Riley Review reforms. Today the town’s harm-reduction policy has become a showcase of how the right combination and strength of measures can make communities safer,” Dr Boffa said.

PAAC and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) today released the NT alcohol harm-reduction report showing the trajectory of success since the MUP and other reforms were introduced.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says alcohol harm is the single biggest issue facing the Territory and data on the reforms is now beginning to paint a clearer picture of success in building safer and healthier communities.

 “The biggest improvement is in Alice which has had measures in place for the longest time, with a 43 per cent drop in alcohol-related assaults and a 38 per cent reduction in family violence,” Mr Thorn said.

The report looks at assault and family violence data for the major centres to determine the impact of the reform package on these two indicators since 1 October 2018.

“Early results show great promise that the Riley Review reforms are starting to make a difference in reducing crime, death, injury, street assaults and partner violence,” Mr Thorn said.

“The NT’s road to the reduction of alcohol-fuelled harm is a long one, but there are early signs that the Riley Review’s integrated response may at last see the NT on the right path to losing its damning status as Australia’s  centre for alcohol harm,” he said.

FARE is an informed media source and a well-respected voice on the global science relating to alcohol and its impact on society.

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