27 Oct 2017
Minister for Health
The Territory Labor Government is building safer communities and providing certainty for business – by repealing the 400 square metre floor size policy in the November sittings and expediting the reinstatement of a Liquor Commission.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Health Natasha Fyles said this is an important step in delivering on key recommendations from the Alcohol Policy and Legislation Review handed to government this month.
“The Territory has unacceptable rates of alcohol related crime, violence, disease and death and the government is working swiftly to address this in a systematic way.
“While the majority of Territorians do the right thing we cannot ignore the significant social and economic costs to the Territory as a whole, with alcohol related harm costing the Territory upward of $640 million dollars a year (2009),” Ms Fyles said.
Minister Fyles said government will provide policy certainty for industry by repealing the 400m2 floor size policy in the November sittings.
“This will be done on urgency, but won’t come into effect until the Liquor Commission is established,” Ms Fyles said.
“The review has clearly identified the current structure as ad-hoc and not fit for purpose and it would be irresponsible to leave a policy vacuum in this space after so much work has been done to address alcohol related crime and violence.”
Minister Fyles thanked industry groups like the AHA who have indicated their support for the review recommendations and also Dan Murphy’s who have taken to media to express their support and willingness to work with the new Liquor Commission.
“We are working swiftly to reinstate a Liquor Commission, in line with the review’s recommendations,” Ms Fyles said.
“Recruitment is expected to begin in the next month and we are hopeful the Liquor Commission will be operational early next year.”
“Last week, I gave instructions to enact a complete moratorium on all new take away licenses including greenfield sites,” Ms Fyles said.
“Today, those regulations have taken effect. The regulation mandates a moratorium period of 2 years.
“A complete moratorium on takeaway licences, to be reviewed after 5 years, was a key recommendation of the review. The moratorium put in place by today’s regulations safeguards the interest of Territorians and our community during the transition period when the Liquor Commission is established and the Liquor Act is rewritten. The re-written Liquor Act will include the full 5 year moratorium period, and an appropriate review mechanism.”
“The Commission will work on harm minimisation policies and together with measures built into a new Liquor Act, will replace the government’s policy on floor size as a measure to address density,” Ms Fyles said.
The government’s initial response to the review and its 220 recommendations has been received well by both businesses and the community.
The Territory Labor Government has given in principle support to consider all but one of the recommendations – a ban on Sunday trading.
Minister Fyles said the review presents a considerable body of work that will require considerable consultation before the government can provide a detailed policy position.
The Territory Labor Government has given support in principle to:
Overhauling the Liquor Act to provide a robust framework for industry and community.
Reinstating an independent Liquor Commission to increase transparency, with decisions to be made based on a new public interest and community impact test.
Implementing a floor price on alcohol products to prevent alcohol related harms and continue to lobby the Federal government for a volumetric tax.
Legislating to make it an offence for a person to operate or navigate a vessel with a breath or blood alcohol content equivalent to the levels in the Traffic Act.
Investing in uniformed licensing inspectors authorised to assist police with POSI/TBL’s
Establishing a central unit in the Department of the Chief Minister to drive reforms.
The Territory Labor Government is establishing an alcohol unit to drive consultation with stakeholders on the recommendations and oversee reforms.
Media Contact: Laetitia Lemke 0418 973 602