Generational change: Major reforms to Northern Territory Alcohol Policy and Legislation


​A minimum floor price for alcohol in the Northern Territory (NT) will mean that heavily subsidised alcohol is no longer cheaper than water. This is the first of many reforms by the NT government in an attempt to achieve generational change.

The reforms come following a review conducted by an Expert Advisory Panel chaired by Hon Justice Trevor Riley.

Of the 220 recommendations provided in the Review Report, 186 were supported, 33 were supported in-principle and only one – a total ban of takeaway alcohol on Sundays - was rejected.

The report has led to the release of the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-2019, which aims to significantly reduce alcohol-related harms for Territorians through a number of legislative, regulatory, policy and program initiatives.

Key features of the plan include:

  • A massive social determinants of health program over 10 years working on housing, employment, domestic violence and local decision-making
  • A screening program for women before and during pregnancy with an accompanying FASD strategy; a review of treatment services; the introduction of sobering up shelters, and reintroduction of the PARTY health promotion program; and an education strategy which includes educating consumers on the NHMRC guidelines, improving drinking culture and managing secondary supply of alcohol
  • A rewrite of the Liquor Act this year and NT are establishing a re-instated Liquor Commission with strict enforcement of the act with point of sale inspections and restricted premises, a five year moratorium on take-away liquor licences; a minimum floor price for alcohol; and an advertising code
  • A comprehensive research and data strategy.

To bring about real change and improvement, governments, businesses and the community will need to work together. It is expected that the action plan will have a significant impact on alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory.

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