29 Jun 2018
Minister for Health
The reintroduction of the Banned Drinker’s Register (BDR) was a major election commitment of the Territory Labor Government, after it was scrapped by the chaotic CLP, to reduce alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles today released the six-month Banned Drinker Register evaluation report – as promised – saying it showed a reduction in the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers, and was targeting individuals whose alcohol related behaviour led to repeat offending.
Since September 1, 2017 around 5500 people have been placed on the BDR, and there have been more than 5100 refusals of sale.
“Every Territorian has the right to feel safe and this Government recognises that alcohol related violence and crime continues to be the biggest single social challenge facing the Northern Territory,” Ms Fyles said.
“When you limit the abuse of alcohol you cut down crime. This is why the Territory Labor Government brought back the BDR as one part of our historic and comprehensive alcohol reforms to stop alcohol-fuelled violence in the NT.
“The reforms include the appointment of 75 police auxiliaries to be stationed at the front of bottle shops, 12 new police officers specifically targeting secondary supply, and the tripling of the maximum penalty for secondary supply to three years in prison or a $46,200 fine.”
Ms Fyles said Menzies School of Health Research has provided independent oversight of the 6 month process evaluation of the implementation of the BDR, and that report is now available online for all Territorians to read.
“The Territory Labor Government values evidence based reforms and that is why we have engaged with Menzies to provide an independent evaluation at the 6 month mark,” she said.
“While I am very optimistic that the report shows that the BDR is meeting its policy objectives, it is important to note that this is a six month evaluation, and we have always made clear that the BDR will continue to evolve and improve.”
The evaluation shows the BDR is wide-reaching and targeting individuals whose alcohol related behaviour leads to:
· Long-standing and frequent non-criminal events, such as protective custody and infringement notices due to their alcohol problems (often itinerant); or
· History of alcohol related criminal behaviour, with terms in prison and on parole; through to
· People with one-off alcohol related offences including assaults and drink driving.
“This indicates the BDR is effective in targeting individuals with alcohol-related problem behaviour,” Ms Fyles said.
The report also indicates the early stages of positive behaviour changing in some groups of people on the BDR, such as:
· Parolees on the BDR are showing compliance with no drinking and no alcohol related criminal events,
· Reduced alcohol related offending and protective custody after release from prison,
· Reducing frequency of protective custody and infringements with some people who were previously frequent users, and;
· Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (a policy of the former CLP Government) did not result in changed behaviour for problem drinkers.
“Secondary supply is raised as a concern and we are already working to address that with new legislation – the tripling of fines - and the 75 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors,” Ms Fyles said.
“While it was positive to note that the report shows that the BDR is meeting its policy objectives, it also identifies 23 recommendations for further enhancing and improving its effects.
“These recommendations will be considered within the work being progressed in the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan.
“The Northern Territory Government will continue to independently evaluate the BDR with the report of the impact of 12 months of operations due in December.”
The report is available online: https://digitallibrary.health.nt.gov.au/prodjspui/bitstream/10137/6982/2/BDR%20Process%20Evaluation_FINAL_28_06_2018.pdf
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794