Talking Point: Learning from Alcohol Policy Reforms in the Northern Territory: radical interventions for radical problems, presented by Professor Peter Miller, PhD on 22nd June 2022
The social costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory equate to $1.38 billion annually. Harmful levels of alcohol consumption – both binge drinking and sustained high and moderate levels of drinking – increase the propensity for risk taking associated with violence, crime, drink driving, unsafe sex, alcoholic poisoning, drinking while pregnant and a wide raft of anti-social behaviours and chronic or acute alcohol related health conditions. The impacts of alcohol also extend to family and friends, with harms relating to domestic violence, child neglect, diminished industry productivity and other third party harm. These understandings, alongside an independent review of NT alcohol policies and legislation, have led the Northern Territory Government to invest in a series of alcohol policy measures as part of its approach to alcohol harm minimisation, this included:
- the reintroduction of the Banned Drinker Register (BDR). The current BDR is an explicit alcohol supply reduction measure that involves placing people that consume alcohol at harmful levels to themselves or others, onto a register which prohibits the consumption, possession or purchase of alcohol. This intervention is unique in its focus on individualised control of problems around packaged liquor, and;
- the introduction of a Minimum Unit Price (MUP) for alcohol, sometimes referred to as the ‘minimum floor price’, to minimise the harms associated with high-alcohol, low-cost alcoholic beverages. From 1 October 2018 the minimum floor price was set at $1.30 per standard drink contained in the alcohol product.
- investing in an additional 75 police auxiliaries to be trained as Liquor Inspectors and capable of delivering full lockdown of bottle shops in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine freeing up Police to return to the frontline.
The presentation will contain preliminary findings and discuss some of the ramifications of these findings.
Peter Miller (PhD) is a Professor of Violence Prevention and Addiction Studies at the School of Psychology, Deakin University. He is the Director of the Deakin University Centre for Drug use, Addictive and Anti-social behaviour Research (CEDAAR: www.deakin.edu.au/cedaar). Peter has recently completed five of the largest studies ever conducted into alcohol policy, licensed venues, violence, comparing 12 Australian cities over 10 years and talking to more than 25,000 patrons. In particular, he is the lead investigator on the QUeensland Alcohol-related violence and Night Time Economy Monitoring (QUANTEM) study, a 13 arm statewide evaluation over 3 years.
His other research interests include: the predictors of violence (including family and domestic violence), the impacts of Childhood Corporal Punishment and Corporate Political Activity of alcohol and dangerous consumptions industries. He has published over 200 journal articles, books and peer-reviewed reports a He is currently running major studies assessing the impact of Policy initiatives in the Northern Territory (including Minimum Floor Price and the Banned Drinkers Register) and testing the impact of last drinks data collected in Emergency Departments to identify and intervene with problem venues across Australia. Current studies: www.industryinsight.info, http://lastdrinks.info/, http://quantem.info/, LEARNT (learntproject.com)