Cash restrictions and total alcohol bans planned for NT violence

He also said that the Howard government’s intervention in the Northern Territory in 2007 had not resulted in any significant child abuse charges, but also dismissed Dutton’s call for a royal commission on the scourge.

“Royal commissions help fill the nest of the legal profession and when the reports are shared they are sorted out,” he said.

The Howard government introduced widespread alcohol bans as part of its intervention in the Northern Territory in 2007. Those rules were superseded by Labor’s 2012 Stronger Futures Bills, which maintained bans and increased penalties.

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker linked the increased crime rates to the expiration of the laws as property damage, domestic violence and assault have skyrocketed over the past year.

When asked if the Stronger Futures legislation had been effective, Wyatt replied, “The legislation had a purpose, but where it should be effective is in a relationship with the community,” adding that it had failed.

Labor vowed during last year’s election to end the cashless debit card, an income management tool that quarantines between 30% and 80% of welfare payments and prevents them from being withdrawn as cash or used to pay for alcohol or gambling.

The federal government is considering complete alcohol bans for some vulnerable communities.

The federal government is considering complete alcohol bans for some vulnerable communities. Credit:Kate Geraghty

Plans to switch welfare recipients in the Northern Territory to a voluntary card that limits spending have been ruled out for the rest of 2023. According to government sources with knowledge of the cancellation of the territory’s cashless debit card, spending restrictions will be increased when the new regulation begins in March.

After the government said on Tuesday that the government would also consider reinstating alcohol bans in communities under an “opt-out situation” in lieu of current rules that allow communities to opt-in to restrictions, Albanese said, he was open to full alcohol bans for communities at risk.

“That’s an option that we absolutely said was on the table,” Albanese said. He accused the previous coalition government of overriding the laws governing the bans.


Fyles told Radio National Breakfast she wants to hold a formal election on future alcohol bans in the area, adding she wants to make sure “we all hear voices”. She also said alcohol management plans drawn up by the territory were ignored by the previous government, which Wyatt disputed, saying there was “nothing preventing them from developing their own legislation”.

Wyatt also proposed a Jobs-style summit to address long-standing social problems of alcohol abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, crime and poor school attendance.

After being warned about violence and alcohol by Central Australia’s Aboriginal Congress on June 9, Minister for Indigenous Australia Linda Burney told ABC radio on Wednesday she had been in talks with the Northern Territory government for months, at least since Garma Festival in July.

When asked if she told them they needed to be tougher on alcohol, Burney replied: “Yes, I did express that alcohol restrictions have to be taken very seriously.

“I’m not going to get into whether or not they took too long, but if you talk to people in Alice Springs, the answer could be ‘yes.'”

Break through the noise of federal politics with news, perspective and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here. Cash restrictions and total alcohol bans planned for NT violence

Callan Tansill

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