Strict booze bans are set to return to the Alice Springs region amid a crime crisis – with a report commissioned by the Prime Minister recommending restrictions ‘urgently’ return.
The Northern Territory government has been instructed to legislate amendments to its Liquor Act to impose alcohol restrictions in Central Australia, including town camps.
Anthony Albanese appointed Dorelle Anderson to immediately review temporary alcohol restrictions in Alice Springs following his fly-in and fly-out visit last week.
Her report suggests the alcohol restrictions go beyond the three-months of restrictions currently in place which ban the purchase of booze on Mondays and Tuesdays and requiring an individual to only make one purchase every other day.
Ms Anderson recommended the liquor laws remain in place until alcohol management plans are developed by communities that would allow them to opt out of the scheme, but only with their own customised plan, Sky News Australia reported.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles and Attorney General Chaunsey Paech are expected to fly to Canberra on Thursday to sit down with Mr Albanese before issuing their response to the report.
Alcohol was banned in town camps and many Indigenous communities before the Stronger Futures legislation expired six months ago as the NT government introduced an “opt-in” system.
Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson has welcomed the recommendation the laws be reinstated.
‘It was there for 15 years it lapsed overnight and clearly we weren’t ready for it,’ he told Sky News Australia on Thursday.
‘I’m not really here to say whose fault it is I’m just glad to see that the report says it’s going to be reintroduced and hopefully the Northern Territory government do implement it and that’s the brave decision they’re going to have to take.
‘I’m not suggesting that it be forever so I am glad that it does quote the alcohol management plans and I think it is a step in the right direction for central Australia.’
The photo that shows the ridiculous flaw in FIFO Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s ‘farcical’ Alice Springs ‘booze ban’: Six bottles of wine, 60 cans of beer and a 750ml bottle of spirits
By Nic White for Daily Mail Australia
Problem drinkers can still buy 60 beers, six bottles of wine, and a bottle of spirits a day in Alice Springs even after limits were imposed to kerb violence.
The remote Northern Territory town has been gripped by a crime crisis over the past few months where gangs of youths roam the streets looking for trouble.
Much of the blame for the violence has fallen on alcohol bans in Aboriginal communities outside of Alice Springs being lifted in July.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese brokered temporary severe restrictions on opening times during a whirlwind four-hour visit last week.
Problem drinkers can still buy 60 beers, six bottles of wine, and a bottle of liquor a day in Alice Springs even after limits were imposed to kerb violence
Customers can only buy two slabs of beer, cider, or pre-mixed spirits, six bottles of wine, and 750ml of liquor at once, with 1L spirits bottles removed from sale
Outlets can only open 3pm to 7pm Wednesday to Saturday and customers are limited to one purchase a day.
Major bottle shops imposed their own additional restrictions to head off further government intervention, but drinkers can still buy more than they would ever need.
The one Liquorland and BWS in the Alice Springs CBD, along with three Cellarbrations scattered around the suburbs, put on the same limits.
Customers can only buy two slabs of beer, cider, or pre-mixed spirits, six bottles of wine, and 750ml of liquor at once, with 1L spirits bottles removed from sale.
However, this is still a massive quantity of booze that even a serious alcoholic would take days to get through, and would easily see them through the three-day ban.
Alice Springs also has at least three independent bottle shops in addition to the five owned by major chains, but they are believed to be following the same rules.
One resident described the retailers’ self-imposed limits as ‘farcical’ as they would do nothing to prevent alcohol abuse in the troubled town.
Much of the blame for the violence has fallen on alcohol bans in Aboriginal communities outside of Alice Springs being lifted in July
The one Liquorland and BWS in the Alice Springs CBD, along with three Cellarbrations scattered around the suburbs put on the same limits
Alcohol was for many years entirely banned in the mostly Aboriginal camps and villages outside Alice Springs, but not the town itself.
Alice Springs and Tennant Creek have about 25 of the Territory’s 43 town camps in their vicinity.
The ban was allowed to lapse in July by the NT Government, which locals argue led to the spike in violent crime.
But others argue the youths who cause most of the problems are not mostly intoxicated and the main cause is them being out on the streets at night to avoid deplorable conditions at home.
Rachel Hale, a nurse who filmed shocking scenes outside a pub on Saturday night, said children as young as two were regularly raped and lived in squalid, overcrowded houses.
‘Some of these houses have 10-15 people sleeping on the floor of a three-bedroom house. There’s no personal hygiene, there’s lice, scabies, fungal rashes, maggots in wounds, perforated ear drums – the level of care is shocking,’ she said.
‘That’s why the kids are not at home, along with the vicious sexual assaults. The parents, the uncles, the cousins are all drinking and the kids are being preyed upon.’
Namfon Fon’s son, 16, was set upon by three youths armed with an axe who struck him on his ‘face, stomach, leg and other parts of his body’
In just the past week, a teenager was attacked with an axe, a brawl broke out at a shopping centre, and pub patrons were besieged by violent youths.
Dozens of teenagers hurled abuse at patrons at the Diplomat Hotel, calling them ‘white c**ts’ and even spitting on them.
Others brawled with a young man who tried to stand up to them, and another tried to hit drinkers behind the pub fence with a tree branch.
Then on Monday, the 16-year-old son of hospital worker Namfon Fon was attacked with an axe in the middle of the afternoon.
Disturbing video of the assault obtained by Daily Mail Australia showed three young males – one wielding an axe or hatchet – laying into the teenager, hitting and kicking him as he cowered in a park.
Other footage recorded at Yeperenye Shopping Centre on Tuesday showed a group of young people throwing chairs and chasing after each other to exchange blows.
The violence sent staff and shoppers scurrying for cover as it spread through the busy mall.
Locals reported seeing people so desperate for alcohol they mix hand sanitiser with water or orange juice and drink it in front of children.
However, this is still a massive quantity of booze that even a serious alcoholic would take days to get through, and would easily see them through the three-day ban
A map of recent properties up for sale shows that locals are fed up and fearing for their safety as alcohol-fuelled violence increases and even the mayor says he ‘can’t blame them’.
About 200 properties are up for sale in the outback town which has a population of 26,000 as some residents express fears the region will become a fly-in fly-out town for workers.
During his brief visit to the town last week, Mr Albanese announced new alcohol restrictions and promised $48.8 million over two years for programs to address the crime problem.
But hundreds of Alice Springs residents were unimpressed and held a town meeting on Monday night to discuss what to do about the crime wave.
Local businessman Garth Thompson said he was planning a $1.5 billion class action lawsuit against the NT Government for allegedly allowing the crisis to happen.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk