1 - Minimum or ‘floor’ price
A minimum floor price should be established for take-away alcohol equivalent to the existing minimum price of take-away full-strength beer: currently more than $1.30 per standard drink) be established. This can be done by a simple amendment to the NT Liquor Act that would allow the NT Licensing to set the price of take-away liquor in the absence of a voluntary Accord.
Note that following the introduction of supply restrictions (the Liquor Supply Plan) in Alice Springs in October 2006, under which the sale of four- and five- litre cask wine was banned, and the sale of two-litre litre cask wine and fortified wine was limited to one per person per day, significant reductions in consumption per capita and alcohol-related harm were achieved.
This has been demonstrated by a detailed longitudinal study undertaken by the Curtin University National Drug Research Institute into the influences on alcohol consumption and related harm in Central Australia. A volumetric tax and or a floor price would have a similar effect, because, as copious research and evidence shows, addicted drinkers will gravitate to the cheapest alcohol available. The 2006 restrictions saw a massive shift away from wine to beer, which is substantially less harmful, due to its lower alcohol by volume content.
2 - Take-away free day
The sale of take-away liquor should be prohibited on a designated day each week and if possible linked to Centrelink payments on that day. This would offer respite to those affected by problem drinkers, such as family members, not just to those drinkers themselves.
3 - Limited take-away trading hours
Trading hours for take-away licensed premises should be limited, and should at minimum not be increased beyond the current hours.
4 - Later on-premises opening time
On-premises opening hours in Alice Springs should be put back to 11:30 a.m. or 12 noon in order to convey the message that people do not need to drink from 10 a.m., to reduce consumption by addicted drinkers, and to allow for services to work with people who are not heading to pubs at an early opening time.
5 - Limits on late-night trading
In order to reduce violence and social disruption associate with late-night venues, licensed premises should not be permitted to trade beyond 1a.m., and no alcohol should be served during the last hour of trading.
6 - Re-instate Photo ID and Banned Drinkers’ Register
The NT Photo ID system and Banned Drinkers’ Register, a useful preventative measure, should be reinstated and a proper evaluation undertaken of their previous operation.
7 - Early childhood development programs
The NT Government should increase the implementation of evidence- based early childhood intervention programs in all Aboriginal communities throughout the central region as a key strategy to ensure that young children have greater self-control, are less impulsive and less susceptible to the development of addictions in adolescence and early adult life.