Outlying communities could vote on new alcohol bans to tackle exploding juvenile delinquency in Alice Springs

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Released: 7:52 PM EST, Jan 24, 2023 | Updated: 7:53 p.m. EST, Jan. 24, 2023

Communities in central Australia could take part in a formal vote to introduce alcohol bans as federal and territorial governments work to tackle Alice Springs’ crime crisis.

Northern Territory Premier Natasha Fyles suggested the Electoral Commission could vote on whether communities want to vote for or against widespread alcohol bans.

Her comments were made after Tuesday’s meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney and community leaders to discuss ways to curb anti-social behaviour.

Ms Fyles said community consultation must be an important part of alcohol management plans, particularly when discussing alcohol bans.

Alice Springs faced a wave of juvenile delinquency (pictured a young man trying to break into Alice Springs Todd Tavern)

Pictured is a young man attempting to break into Alice Springs Todd Tavern

Alice Springs has faced a spate of juvenile delinquency in recent years (pictured a young man attempting to break into Alice Springs Todd Tavern)

“We can’t look at Alice Springs in isolation, we have to look at the broader community and this is something where communities have had an opportunity to choose to be a dry community,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“Are we going to vote? Are we going to get the electoral commission to go to these communities?

“Then the matter can be settled with confidence, knowing that all opinions have been heard.”

Mr Albanese and Ms Fyles announced a three-month ban on take-away alcohol sales in the region on Mondays and Tuesdays and reduced trading hours on other days, and a limit of one purchase per person per day.

Ms Burney promised tough new restrictions on take-away alcohol sales were just the beginning of action to tackle rising juvenile delinquency in Alice Springs.

She said the government will look at all options and further alcohol restrictions are likely on the table.

“I find it very difficult to see a future where there are no more alcohol restrictions,” she told ABC TV on Wednesday.

The Minister also believed that a successful referendum to create an Indigenous voice in Parliament would help communities, particularly in the Northern Territory, in the long term.

“If the voice of Parliament had been established beforehand, I don’t think we would be where we are,” she said in a separate interview with ABC Radio.

“We would have received practical advice from community representatives on these social issues.

“It’s wrong to think that the problem out here is just alcohol. For 10 years, small communities around Alice Springs have been neglected.

An Alice Springs man posted this video of five children breaking into his home where they spent 30 minutes vandalizing the home before exiting

An Alice Springs man posted this video of five children breaking into his home where they spent 30 minutes vandalizing the home before exiting

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sussan Ley said the government has ignored community leaders and called for tougher restrictions.

“Governments have to respond to the situations they face and this government has not responded sufficiently or strongly enough,” she told reporters in Canberra.

A long-term Central Australia alcohol management plan is being developed to tackle the “complex problems” in the region, which include alcohol-related violence, unemployment and youth on the streets.

A Regional Controller, Dorelle Anderson, has been appointed to ensure that all levels of government work together to deliver services to the community.

It will also review opt-in alcohol restrictions that replaced intervention-inspired alcohol bans that expired last year and consider whether opt-out bans should be introduced.

It will present an interim report with further recommendations to the government next week.

Northern Territory Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said she had “cautious optimism” about the impact of the initial measures.

Mr Albanese pledged to spend millions of additional dollars to increase safety, including providing better street lighting, shelters for victims of domestic violence and community services in Alice Springs and the region.


Darren Clarke, who launched the campaign to spotlight violence in Alice Springs, previously told Daily Mail Australia that Indigenous children are coming to the city and committing crime and violence to escape alcohol-related violence at home.

“These children are not safe, alcohol is being drunk in the city camps, there is blood on the walls at home, children are seeing people being hurt, and the children are being raped and abused.

“You have to save the children but nobody will talk about it because everyone is afraid of the stolen generation.

“This is what prevents children from being taken to a safe place.

“I’m a white person but people like (Federal Alice Springs MP) Marion Scrymgour are calling on the NT government at the moment, that’s very brave.”

Mr Clarke was referring to the phasing out of the government’s previously tough alcohol laws, which ensured a “grog ban” at Alice Springs’ 30 or so tow camps.

“I run a bakery in town and my partner and I have been spending a lot of time with young girls who are in town in the middle of the night because (they say) ‘my aunt has been knocked out and knocked out and there’s blood all over the walls.’ ”.

‘ Or ‘Dad’s buddy came into my bedroom and tried to touch me’. It breaks your heart.’

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