The Northern Territory Government has released the three year evaluation of the Minimum Unit Price (MUP).

The MUP was introduced in amendments to the NT Liquor Act in 2018, which were implemented following the Riley Review and its recommendations around alcohol legislation and issues in the state.

The MUP was set at $1.30 per standard drink contained in the alcohol product, meaning that no alcohol could be sold below the price of $1.30 per standard drink.

In this legislation, the MUP must be reviewed every three years to analyse the impact and effectiveness of the legislation in reducing alcohol-related harm. The government has now released this latest evaluation, which includes a recommendation to keep the scheme in place.

The evaluation report was developed by independent consultants, Frontier Economics and Yarning, with “extensive stakeholder consultation and analysis of data.” This report concludes the MUP has been effective, while also acknowledging the difficulty in evaluating the scheme without considering the assistance of other measures currently in place to also address alcohol-related harm.

Key findings listed in the evaluation include the reduction in alcohol-related harms in a range of key areas since 2018, with a 25.8 per cent decline in alcohol-related assaults; a 37.6 per cent decline in alcohol-related hospital admissions in Alice Springs Hospital, and a further 24.2 per cent decrease in the same in Tennant Creek; and an overall 19.4 per cent reduction per capita in alcohol-related emergency department presentations across the state.

Other findings that the NT Government has highlighted includes a reduction in the supply of low-cost, high alcohol products, and “no evidence to suggest the MUP had any negative effects on industry, tourism or the NT economy.”

Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Natasha Fyles, said: “The minimum unit price is just one component of our broad alcohol reforms, but this evaluation shows it does have a place here in the Territory.

“While we acknowledge there is still more work to do across the Territory, this evaluation is a good indication that we are on the right track.”

Michael Waters, CEO of Retail Drinks Australia, said evaluating the MUP is important.

“Retail Drinks Australia and our Members supported the NT Government’s three-year review of the Minimum Unit Price, having been highly engaged on the issue since it came into effect in October 2018,” Waters said.

“We have a history of support for effective targeted solutions to irresponsible consumption such as the Banned Drinker Register and Police Auxiliary Licensing Inspectors.

“The benefits of population-wide measures like the MUP are more difficult to identify which is why the findings of the Frontier Economics review are so important for informing future reforms.

“Retail Drinks’ NT members can rest assured that the voice of industry is being heard at the highest levels of the NT Government and that the association is working proactively on their behalf throughout legislative and regulatory reviews of alcohol policy.”

The full evaluation is available to read on the NT Health website.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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