In the Australian town of Alice Springs, where alcohol-related damages, violent crime, and discontent have reached alarming proportions, there will be immediate limitations on alcohol sales and more than $50 million in community support.
The first Aboriginal director of the Northern Territory’s families department, Dorelle Anderson, was also named as a central Australian regional controller by the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to oversee those immediate efforts.
Albanese pledged $2 million for the Tangentyere Women’s Council, $25 million for community service money for organisations in central Australia, $2 million for “high visibility” police activities, and $2 million for CCTV security lighting.
He added that there had been a “serious deficit” in emergency support for families in Alice Springs and pledged $4.6 million for temporary housing.
On Monday and Tuesday, there will be no alcohol-related takeaways, and on the other days, there will be alcohol-reduced hours.
According to NT chief minister, Natasha Fyles, takeaways are only permitted between 3pm and 7pm, with a daily cap of one transaction per person.
The chief minister claimed that since the previous federal government decided to let intervention-era alcohol restrictions under the Stronger Futures legislation expire in the middle of 2022, the “evidence has settled” and it is obvious that harms have increased.
Alcohol prohibitions enacted during the intervention era in isolated Aboriginal communities came to an end in July when it was made lawful in some places for the first time in 15 years and allowed to be purchased without limitations in others.
According to NT police figures, reported property crimes have grown over the last 12 months by approximately 60%, while assaults have increased by 38% and domestic violence assaults by 48%.
Peter Dutton, the opposition leader, had requested federal police to assist in putting an end to the unrest, and Matt Paterson, the mayor of Alice Springs, had requested a military-style intervention; however, these requests were largely rejected by the prime minister, the chief minister, and Jamie Chalker, the police commissioner for the territory.