Assaults rise after rollout
ACTING Chief Minister Nicole Manison has been forced to defend the controversial Banned Drinker Register as new figures show the number of alcohol-related assaults has increased since it came into effect.
Figures released yesterday show there were 709 alcohol-related assaults in the NT during September and October.
The BDR began operating at the start of September.
In the same period last year, there were 556 alcohol-related assaults.
Alcohol-related assaults increased immediately following the introduction of the BDR.
NT Police data shows there were 330 alcohol-related assaults in August and 356 in September.
September was one of the worst months in recent history for alcohol-related assaults.
There were only three months in the preceding two years for which a higher number was recorded.
Ms Manison defended the register and said it was too early to measure its success.
"The BDR has been in place since September. I don't think we're going to see the full impact of that straight away overnight, but it's one important measure to tackle the issue of alcohol and anti-social behaviour," she said.
Ms Manison acknowledged an apparent spike in property crime since the BDR was reintroduced.
"We do know that some people, when they're cut off from grog, will go to all sorts of steps in order to get alcohol and that's the sad reality for people who suffer from this sort of addiction," she said.
Opposition Leader Gary Higgins rejected the idea it was too soon to talk about the success or otherwise of the BDR.
"We would anticipate a downward trend in alcohol-related assaults and crime as a result of the BDR, given the commentary from the Labor government prior to the BDR's return, and this has clearly not happened," he said.
Territorian Jeff Kelm said the BDR was ineffective.
"It isn't doing what it was designed to do. It is onerous on the shopkeepers because they have to have security there and it is time-wasting," he said.
Darwinite Laura Coyne disliked the BDR, saying it "stigmatised" people.
There were 2832 people registered on the BDR at the end of November. Of those, 77 per cent were men and 85 per cent were Aboriginal.