By Annette Shailer

A new package of reforms for the Northern Territory’s hospitality and gaming industries will see a ban on smoking by 2010, a cap on the number of pokies and a government liquor licence buy-back scheme.

Northern Territory Minister for Racing, Gaming and Licensing, Dr Chris Burns, announced the changes on Friday, which aim to strengthen regulation around smoking, poker machines and alcohol.

“This is the single most comprehensive package of reform in our hospitality and gaming industries to provide a healthier, safer community,” he said.

The smoking ban will be enforced in 18 months allowing venues time to prepare for the changes, making the Northern Territory the last place in Australia to ban smoking in pubs.

The cap on poker machines will see poker machines in the Northern Territory restricted to 1190, with about 1000 potential poker machines removed and no more poker machine licences to be issued.

In a continued effort to reduce alcohol consumption, the government will buy-back liquor licences and strengthen the powers of the Alcohol Court in order to provide treatment for alcohol abuse.

“Too much of the Territory’s crime and violence is related to alcohol abuse. These reforms will help get more problem drinkers into treatment before crimes happen,” Burns said.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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