ALCOHOL DESTROYS PEOPLE. Northern Territory’s Sad Saga

Paige Taylor’s story (‘Woolworths sorry for Dan Murphy’s site near dry Indigenous communities’, The Australian, 10/6/2021) confirms that sense and sensibility about the establishment of liquor outlets can win out. The Dan Murphy liquor store would have been built within easy walking distances from nearby Indigenous housing establishments.

The decision not to proceed with this project is a small win within the context of a significant problem. Many Indigenous communities are dry (do not allow alcohol), so those wanting to drink, come to Darwin in pursuance of their desire to imbibe. This gives rise to literally hundreds of people relocating to Darwin in order to drink. They are supported by charities providing food and accomodation so these are not costs they have to manage. That leaves more money to spend on alcohol. Darwin and the NT have more liquor outlets per capita than any other state or territory, so alcohol is not hard to find.

I worked with Indigenous Australians from 1970 until retirement and retain a deep interest in the development of our First Australians. There are many wonderful and upstanding Indigenous people including many, especially in the NT, in leadership positions. Sadly, the drunken, alcohol impacted behaviour offered by so many, so often in highly visible public places, detracts from the perceptions held for our country’s first citizens.

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