New Northern Territory Intervention Changes
- Retains current alcohol bans, but increases penalties to six months imprisonment for liquor offences under 1350 milliliters, or an 18 month maximum prison sentence for liquor offences greater than 1350 millilitres.
- The Indigenous affairs minister will be able to request that Northern Territory licensing assessors assess premises that sell, or allow for the consumption of alcohol, where there is concern that they are contributing to alcohol-related harm to Aboriginal people.
- Retains porn bans in prescribed areas.
One of the biggest concerns raised by submissions to the inquiry included the harsh penalties on alcohol possession in prescribed areas. The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)’s Johnathon Hunyor told the inquiry there was little evidence to suggest that increased penalties worked.
“I think that one of the issues we need to look at every time an increase in penalty and an increase in imprisonment is imposed is: what is the opportunity cost if realistically that is going to mean sending more people to jail?
Jail costs more than $100 000 per person per year, according to the Productivity Commission. Surely there are better ways to be spending that money on the sorts of things…touched on today that are lacking in our communities - that is rehabilitation, culturally appropriate services and culturally relevant treatment. That is where we should be putting the energy and resources, not on increasing the potential for people to go to jail.”
Source: “Stolen Futures: And You Thought There Was Nothing Left To Flog” Tracker Magazine Vol 2. Issue 12, APRIL 2012 p. 14