Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney and Chief Minister Natasha Fyles are likely to debate the recent lifting of the Northern Territory’s alcohol restriction in some locations.
According to The Australian, Burney is interested in meeting with Fyles to talk about the suspension of the ban, which was lifted on July 17th.
As was previously reported in The Mandarin, residents of select areas of the Northern Territory are now legally allowed to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Communities may still use their right to abstain from water use, but there is a process in place to facilitate this choice.
The lack of planning that went into repealing the prohibition has been questioned by a few different agencies.
Fyles, who has advocated for the repeal of the restriction, believes that indigenous communities should have the authority to make these kinds of choices.
“Aboriginal communities have the same right as every other community to make decisions in the best interests of their own people. This right must be respected at all times.”
Not discriminatory practises such as the Intervention, which targeted and criminalised Aboriginal populations, the chief minister stated that “this is the true road to establishing great communities and good futures.”
After the ban was lifted and an AFL game was played in Alice Springs, the Northern Territory Police reported that there was an increase in the number of violent crimes that were driven by alcohol.
Marion Scrymgour, a member of the ALP who represents Lingiari, has raised concerns on the lifting of the moratorium.
“Having worked in the health sector and witnessed firsthand the impact of alcohol and what it can do — not only to individuals, but also to families — we simply cannot ignore this substance. Alcohol can have a significant negative effect on both.”
“Yes, it may be legal, but it’s a known fact that the impact of alcohol is one that creates a whole lot of dysfunction and problems,” Scrymgour said. “Yes, it may be legal, but it’s a known fact that Aboriginal people and the impact of alcohol is one that creates a whole lot of dysfunction and problems.”
Peter Burnheim, the executive officer of the Association of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies in the Northern Territory, stated that neither the federal nor the territory government had taken into consideration the health implications while lifting the ban.
According to what Burnheim said in an interview with The Mandarin, “Further resourcing is needed to facilitate community decision-making processes, to undertake auditing of resources to support the minimisation of potential alcohol-related harms, and to respond to the impacts of alcohol returning to these areas.”