Uniformed alcohol restrictions in the Northern Territory need to be considered in order to to address the jurisdictions high rate of domestic violence according to a leading Indigenous academic.
Professor Marcia Langton, says the restrictions are an “absolutely necessary public health measure”, as she appeared for an inquest investigating the domestic violence deaths of four women yesterday.
The NT’s coroner Elizabeth Armitage has been investigating the deaths since June this year with the inquest has already hearing from the family’s of the victims and now the final round of hearings is featuring experts.
Professor Langton says alcohol restrictions aren’t racially discriminatory when they are designed to quell violence among vulnerable people.
She also argued that the restrictions need to be equally strict across regions, not just harsh in Aboriginal communities and relaxed in others.
“Herein lies the secret to the whole puzzle, you have to have alcohol restrictions in place at all times, no exceptions, and it is my strong belief (they) need to be uniform across the jurisdiction.”
Because if there are any loopholes in the system, grog runners will buy the alcohol in truckloads and plane loads and take it out to the communities and no alcohol restriction policy will work.”
She flagged a permit as a possible solution to giving responsible drinkers the ability to consume alcohol.
Once alcohol restrictions lapsed in the Northern Territory late last year, there was a 77 per cent rise in domestic violence assaults in Alice Springs.
She also told the Coroner that the government’s $20 million commitment to tackling domestic violence was “gobsmacking” given that the sector has repeatedly called for $180 million.
“You can’t tackle this problem with $20 million it’s ridiculous, it’s not addressing the problem.
If you want to reduce antisocial behaviour in the NT, you have to start with reducing domestic violence, because many of the perpetrators of domestic violence are also gang members creating trouble.”
If you or anyone you know needs to call someone the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line 13YARN can be reached on 13 92 76