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Alcohol-fuelled harms are decreasing in the Northern Territory, according to a new report.

The research, Investigating the introduction of the alcohol minimum unit price in the Northern Territory, from Deakin University’s Centre for Drug use, Addictive and Anti-social Behaviour Research Centre (CEDAAR), showed a decline in alcohol-related harm across a range of key areas, most significantly in:

  • alcohol-related assault offences (a 23% reduction in alcohol related assaults across the Territory in 2018/19 compared to the same period in 2017/18);
  • alcohol-related emergency department (ED) presentations (17.3% reduction in ED presentations in the NT in 2018/19 compared to the same period in 2017/18);
  • the number of child protection notifications, protection orders, and out-of-home care cases;
  • alcohol-related road traffic crashes (resulting in injury or fatality); and
  • alcohol-related ambulance attendances.

The report has attributed the decrease in alcohol harm to reforms NT instigated, including Minimum Unit Price (MUP) as part of the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-2019.

“While these are promising outcomes, providing crucial baseline and interim findings, changes in social trends require more time to be certain and longer term evaluations are needed,” Research Lead Professor Peter Miller said.

“Our strong measures across minimum unit price, bringing back the banned drinkers register and PALIs [Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors] are responsible for these positive results,” NT Minister for Health and Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles, said.

The report has been welcomed  by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)

“The NT has the country’s highest rates of alcohol-fuelled hospitalisations and deaths, including road fatalities and trauma,” said FARE CEO Caterina Giorgi.

“The MUP, alongside the suite of alcohol harm-reduction measures, has made a substantial contribution to building safer and healthier communities, and the NT government is to be congratulated for this.”

The MUP was introduced in 2018 as one of a suite of evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol-fuelled harm, introduced by the NT government in response to the Riley Review.