By Ian Neubauer
The Northern Territory town of Katherine will become a ‘dry zone’ where all public drinking will be banned from today onwards.
The move follows a similar ban in Alice Springs and certain indigenous communities that went into effect August last year as part of the Commonwealth’s Northern Territory National Emergency Act 2007.
The act makes it an offence to take, possess, drink or supply alcohol inside dry zones and for any alcohol outlet not to record the name, address and place of consumption for alcohol purchases in excess of $100 or five litres of cask or flagon wine. A first offence is punishable with a fine not exceeding $1100. Trafficking fines of up to $74,000 or 18 months imprisonment apply if the quantity of alcohol is greater than three cases of beer. Exemptions exist for alcohol consumed on private property or in licensed premises. I
In Katherine, the consumption of alcohol will also be permitted between 7.30am and 7.30pm at the Katherine Low Level Nature Reserve.
“The locals see that as a place to enjoy, so it will be exempt,” a spokesperson for the Northern Territory Department of Justice said.
The spokesperson said Katherine had been made a dry zone in response to demands from the Liquor Commission and residents, and that the ban would be permanent. “This is not a trial. It will be illegal to consume alcohol outside your home or licensed premises.”