Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney is set to meet up with Northern Territory chief minister Natasha Fyles over the recent cessation of the territory’s alcohol ban in some areas.
As reported in The Australian, Burney is looking to meet with Fyles to discuss the ban, which ended just over a week ago, on July 17.
Since then, some parts of the Northern Territory are now able to sell alcohol, as previously reported in The Mandarin. There remains an option for communities to choose to continue to be dry, with an application process in place to do so.
There has been criticism of the ban lifting, with some agencies critiquing the lack of planning.
Fyles has defended the lifting of the ban, saying Aboriginal communities have the right to make these decisions.
“Aboriginal communities have the same right as every other community to make decisions in the best interests of their own people.
“This is the true path to building strong communities and strong futures — not racist policies like the Intervention that targeted and criminalised Aboriginal communities,” the chief minister said.
There was a spike in alcohol-fuelled violence, according to NT Police, following the ban lift, with an AFL match occurring in Alice Springs.
ALP member for Lingiari Marion Scrymgour has criticised the ban lift.
“Having worked in the health sector, seen firsthand the impact of alcohol and what that can do — not only to individuals but to families — we can’t ignore this substance.
“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,” Scrymgour said.
Other critics of the ban lift, such as Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies NT executive officer Peter Burnheim, said both the federal and territory governments had not considered the health impacts.
“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,” Burnheim told The Mandarin last week.