Northern Territory Government passes contentious mandatory alcohol treatment legislation

The laws mean anyone who is taken into protective custody for drunkenness three times in two months will be assessed and could spend three months in alcohol rehabilitation. Patients could also face criminal charges if they repeatedly abscond from rehabilitation programs. From the outset the draft legislation was heavily criticised by Indigenous groups, medical bodies and justice advocates who have argued it criminalises drunkenness. Key points: The contentious legislation comes into effect in Northern Territory on July 1, 2013 Anyone taken into custody for drunkenness three times in two months to be assessed for the treatment Patients could face criminal charges if they abscond from the program Means some alcoholics will be forced into three months of rehabilitation Treatment to occur at rehabilitation facilities in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs Draft legislation heavily criticised by Indigenous groups, medical bodies and justice advocates Critics argue it criminalises drunkenness They also say it will do little to address alcohol problems in the Territory. "It represents one of the greatest Australian policy failures since the introduction of cane toads..." Labor's Michael Gunner said. "Condemned by experts, rejected by those who would be required to administer and police it, and yet the Minister continues to praise its virtues." The scheme is due to start on Monday, with rehabilitation facilities in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs rushing to ensure they can cater for an increase in patients. The legislation passed into law at 2.30am after 43 amendments and eight hours of parliamentary debate. Meanwhile, proposed restrictions in the South Australian outback town of Coober Pedy would ban people from some communities in the state and the Northern Territory from buying takeaway alcohol. After visiting the town at the council's request, South Australia's Liquor and Gambling Commissioner has proposed a number of changes. These include people from areas such as the APY Lands and Northern Territory dry communities being banned from buying alcohol, shorter opening hours, and a ban on cask wine. Mayor Steve Baines says Coober Pedy is the remaining town in the area without any alcohol restrictions, giving it a reputation as "a party town". "So basically, we need to change that perception, and we need to dry up the supply of takeaway alcohol, particularly to transient people." He says the community called for changes after alcohol-fuelled problems caused by visitors to the town last summer. browse around this web-site

Open speed limits for Territory?

NSW Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay said that there would be no review of NSW speed limits. "We have no plans to have unlimited speed-limits on our roads," he said. Professor Max Cameron, a researcher at the Monash University Accident Centre, said the Territory Government would be risking lives. Increasing the speed limits again in the Northern Territory is very much in the wrong direction, Professor Cameron said. The simple answer to reducing fatalities in rural environments is to reduce speed limits, not increase them. In NSW, authorities say speed is the biggest contributor to the states road toll. However, as with the rest of Australia, their definition of speeding does not relate to the speed limit but inappropriate speed for the conditions, among other factors. In Australia there are no statistics on how many fatalities are caused by motorists exceeding the speed limit. Excessive speed is straightforward, however, there are often cases where a vehicle is travelling below the posted speed limit, but the speed is deemed inappropriate for the conditions, the general manager of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, Marg Prendergast, told Fairfax. University of NSW Professor Mike Regan said inattention was the biggest contributing factor we know of for crashes, and that crash analysts oversimplified the role of speeding. Often speed is coded as the causal factor but if you think about it more laterally it could be that a person was distracted and as a coincidence they went over the speed limit, Professor Regan said. I think sometimes its a matter of being a bit more precise in knowing what the actual causal factor was ... webpage

WGAR News: Aboriginal Northern Territory (NT) Intervention and the NT Elections

* * * What does the First Nations Political Party say about the proposed nuclear waste dump in the NT? ... What do you think about the NT intervention? ... Housing is another serious issue in the NT. Are there specific issues for Aboriginal people? ... What do you think about the level of support for the homelands? ... " * NIT: JAPARTA RYAN'S PLAN TO STOP INTERVENTION - News 6 Jul 12: " ... The First Nations Party plans to storm the upcoming Northern Territory election and seize the balance of power after announcing this week their first six candidates who will stand for election. original site