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A group to develop a new Alcohol management plan for Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, is being established by the Minister for Alcohol Policy, Dave Tollner.
The Minister had called for a number of stakeholders to nominate representatives for the Alcohol reference group (ARG) by last Friday 31 January.
'The reference group will provide advice and input into the development, implementation and evaluation of a new Alcohol management plan for Tennant Creek. In developing that plan the group will be the principal avenue for community groups and individuals to have input into local strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm in the town,' Mr Tollner told the Centralian Advocate. 'We want the group to be a cross-section of the Tennant community because the role of these groups is to identify community-based solutions to the negative consequence of alcohol in their community.'
The announcement came on the same month that a trial of alcohol restrictions was imposed by a number of liquor licensees in the town.
The trial that began on Monday, January 27, included limiting each person to purchase two bottles of wine from 3pm to 8pm, one cask of wine from 4pm to 6pm and one bottle of spirits from 3pm to 8pm Monday through to Friday. Although it's only a week old, health and advocacy groups remain sceptical about the effectiveness of alcohol sales being limited by liquor outlets.
Dr John Boffa, from the People's Alcohol Action Coalition, said where you have the industry itself trying to regulate the town's drinking problem, 'it's not a recipe for well-designed restrictions. They're in the business of selling alcohol for a living. They're hardly likely to come up with a package of measures that will restrict their sales,' Dr Boffa said.
Chief Executive Officer of Anyinginyi Health Corporation, Trevor Sanders, said he supported the licensee's restrictions but wanted to see them go further. 'Most communities are supposed to have an Alcohol management plan. The government has been consulting (a plan) for, I think, the best part of five years,' he said, adding that he supported Mr Tollner's current initiative.
'Tennant Creek has got the highest rate of alcohol consumption per head in the Territory. As a community, we need to stand up and say we've had enough. I think we need to be brave and develop an Alcohol management plan that will really help this area,' Mr Sanders said.
Minister Tollner plans to announce the ARG later this month and for the first meeting to be held in March.
Source: NT News