The Stronger Futures Act continued a range of blanket prohibitions on alcohol in prescribed areas, originally declared as part of the Intervention. It was a race-based policy with little to no engagement with the Aboriginal Territorians it was targeted at, and is inconsistent with the principles of self-determination and Local Decision Making.
The Bill allows affected communities to opt in to a continuation of alcohol restrictions for a period of up to two years after the Commonwealth law ends on 17 July 2022.
If we did not pass this Bill, there would be no restrictions whatsoever after 17 July 2022 for affected communities, when the Commonwealth law sunsets.
All areas which were previously General Restricted Areas (GRAs) under the NT’s Liquor Act before the Commonwealth law came into force will automatically revert to their previous restrictions, and will not need to opt in. This covers over 100 major communities across the Territory.
For those communities which wish to see the managed return of alcohol and choose not opt in, the Department will continue supporting them with additional resources and assistance to ensure that transition occurs safely and that any risks are properly managed.
These changes do not affect the ability of any community to apply to the Liquor Commission for a social club license. The same strict process for such an application still applies – this Bill does not change that.
Quotes attributable to Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles:
“The Stronger Futures legislation is one of the last living remnants of the Intervention, which was a race-based policy targeting Aboriginal Territorians with little to no engagement or consultation.”
“The Federal Liberal Government, which is responsible for the Stronger Futures legislation, notified the Territory at the eleventh hour that it would be walking away and leaving the Northern Territory Government to clean up its mess. This Government has accordingly acted quickly and responsibly to prepare for the Commonwealth walking away.
“This Government will not support continuing the mandatory restrictions and obligations of the Intervention.
“In line with our commitments to Local Decision Making and self-determination, this Bill empowers affected communities with a choice to decide what is best for their community, and we will continue to support them in making that choice.”