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Police back trial to relax remote area grog bans

Date posted: 23 June 2015

Police will back a trial to relax decade-old alcohol restrictions in Queensland's remote Aboriginal communities if local leaders accept measures, including the use of public video surveillance, to help maintain current low levels of violence.

The Palaszczuk Labor government is moving to set a Christmas deadline for the 19 Aboriginal councils that have either a total ban or restrictions on alcohol sales to develop proposals for the removal of the restrictions in their communities.

Most of the councils are pushing for changes, with only two communities - Aurukun and Lockhart River, in Cape York - intending to stay totally dry.

Queensland Police Commissioner, Ian Stewart, said research and on-the-ground reports showed the Alcohol management plans (AMPs), first rolled out in 2002, and toughened in the ensuing three years, had mixed results.

Under existing AMPs, reported violence and hospitalisations have decreased significantly in many communities.

Child abuse notifications have more than halved in parts of Cape York, but there has been a growing problem with sly grogging and widescale use of home brews, which has caused sickness and death.

Queensland Indigenous Minister, Curtis Pitt, said he supported a 'transition out of the AMP' ┬Čregime, originally introduced by former premier Peter Beattie to curb violence. He said he supported a model already trialled in two communities where registered locals can drink at a licensed club.

'We need to see communities, particularly those that already have licensed communities, being able to have licensed premises operating in a very open way like you would see in any other community in Australia,' he said.

Source: The Australian

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Last updated: 22 June 2015
 
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