09 Feb “SIN CITY” LABEL SUMS UP MOUNT ISA’S NT CRISIS: KATTER
Queensland-Northern Territory (NT) border towns including Camooweal, Urandangi, Dajarra and Mount Isa must be safe-guarded from the consequences of the Northern Territory’s backflip on prohibition, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.
Mr Katter is proposing the trial introduction of a Banned Alcohol Register and Proof of Residence purchase requirements for alcohol in the Mount Isa region and has written to the Premier and Attorney General to secure their support.
“These tools are already widely used in the NT and are effective – given the exposure Mount Isa and the other small townships have to the problems in the Territory, implementing these measures is critical,” he said.
“We already have enough on our plates here, a crime crisis that is destroying our ‘country town’ feel and a housing crisis just to name a few – we simply cannot afford to be the overflow destination for all the dysfunction of the NT.”
Mr Katter said the alarm bells had sounded when alcohol purchase limits were introduced in Alice Springs a couple of weeks ago but that this week’s announcement the NT would re-instate wide-spread grog bans would open the floodgates to itinerants and send Mount Isa into a spiral of anti-social behaviour, violence and crime.
He said it was well-known that Mount Isa, which sits about 200km from the NT border and has no alcohol restrictions, was routinely host to inter-state visitors.
According to the ABC, a privately run “bush bus” regularly transports people from Alice Springs and Tennant Creek to the Leichhardt River riverbed, which is a prolific location in the outback city due to its population of Indigenous campers.
Mr Katter said he’d heard Mount Isa was referred to as “sin city” by NT residents seeking to escape alcohol bans, and he feared the local consequences of the widespread re-introduction of bans.
“Alcohol bans are not a long-term or stand-alone solution but they have their place and are essential in times of crisis to pull things back into order,” he said.
“Therefore, the announcement from the NT Government is welcome but there has been a deafening silence from both the Federal and State Labor Governments as to how these decisions are going to affect Queensland and particularly the North West.
“The obvious result of an alcohol ban is people are going to go elsewhere to get what they want – with the NT, Mount Isa and the other small communities between us and them are the first place they will turn.”