Further restrictions on alcohol in Alice Springs is likely when a report is handed back to the government this week, after a key frontbencher confirmed Anthony Albanese had pushed for a tougher change.
The crime wave and rise of anti-social behaviour tearing through Alice Springs has pushed the conversation around alcohol laws back into the spotlight in the last week.
A visit from the Prime Minister prompted the NT government to introduce new alcohol rules that restricted trading hours and implemented alcohol-free days.
A report will be finalised this week by central Australian regional controller, Dorelle Anderson, which will likely recommend even further, tougher restrictions – such as a total grog ban or an “opt-out” system.
Assistant Indigenous Australians Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, confirmed on Sunday the Albanese government had urged the NT government to move to opt-out alcohol restrictions.
Intervention-era alcohol bans in the territory expired in July, after which many Indigenous communities chose to opt in to ongoing restrictions for another two years.
Others, including the town camps around Alice Springs, did not.
“The federal government has urged the NT government to ensure that there is the opportunity to opt out for communities,” Senator McCarthy told Sky News.
“And they have the power here in the Northern Territory through the Legislative Assembly to do that.
“So this week is going to be a critical moment.
“We have to make sure it’s about action, we have to move and give confidence to the families and businesses of Alice Springs that they will be saved and there is a future.”
Alice Springs-based Labor MP Marion Scrymgour warned the government that the lapsing of the Stronger Futures legislation would result in alcohol abuse and violence.
Speaking on Sunday, Nationals leader David Littleproud said the laws “never should have been let go”.
“At some stage, the government’s responsibility always falls back to one simple principle – to keep its people safe. And that means you have to govern for the greater good, rather than an individual,” he told Sky News.
“And when the individual can’t control themselves, then you have to implement policy that protects the greater good, and that’s where this government fails – whether it be with the grog bans or whether it be with the cashless debit card.”
New Alcohol Restrictions Will Be Enforced In Alice Springs