21 Dec 2017
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Territory Labor Government is delivering safe and vibrant communities with Expressions of Interest released for members of the Territory’s planned Liquor Commission.
The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Natasha Fyles said this was a key recommendation from the Alcohol Policy and Legislation Review (Riley Review) delivered by former Chief Justice Trevor Riley.
“The former CLP scrapped the Liquor Commission in 2014, locking community groups out of a key step in liquor licensing approvals,” she said.
The Riley Review pointed out two key concerns with this which contributed to a lack of transparency and confidence, including:
Lack of public hearings; and
Concerns around the same body granting licences, regulating compliance and prosecuting complaints.
“We’ve listened to Territorians concerns and we are bringing back a Liquor Commission, with legislation expected to go before Parliament in February,” Ms Fyles said.
Minister Fyles said the Territory has some of the highest rates of alcohol fuelled crime and violence in the world and a coordinated suite of initiatives is needed to address this.
“We have accepted and acted on Justice Trevor Riley’s recommendation to re-establish the Liquor Act as the independent and primary decision maker under the Liquor Act,” she said.
“It will operate as an independent statutory authority with extensive powers to regulate Territory liquor licensing in the Northern Territory. I want a Liquor Commission that will be experienced, knowledgeable and above reproach when it comes to their open and accountable decision making.
“The Liquor Commission will commence early in 2018 to provide certainty for business and the community and ensure any new liquor licences can be considered properly through a harm reduction framework.”
The Government has already implemented a range of Justice Riley’s recommendations including repealing the 400sq/m floor space (this will come into effect once the Liquor Commission is established), placing a moratorium on new liquor licences and establishing the Industry Reference Group – a group of representatives from various licenced establishments in the Northern Territory.
Expressions of interest are now open for a Chair, Deputy Chair, and up to six general members of the Liquor Commission.
At least one Member will require experience in the Health industry, the Chairs need legal qualifications and there is a desire for some members to have experience in the business and tourism industries.
Territorians can go to www.nt.gov.au/liquorcommission for more information.
Media Contact: Laetitia Lemke 0418 973 602