The head of an Aboriginal organisation in Alice Springs has had his car impounded by Northern Territory Police after taking alcohol into a restricted area.
Walter Shaw is chief executive officer of Tangentyere Council, which provides services to Aboriginal people in Alice Springs town camps.
Police stopped Mr Shaw and another man inside the Mount Nancy Town Camp on Friday night and found alcohol in the car.
It is against the law to posses alcohol in town camps and Mr Shaw’s company car was impounded.
He will be charged with possessing liquor in a restricted area and bringing liquor into a restricted area.
Tangentyere executive spokeswoman Pamela Lynch says alcohol laws unfairly target town camp residents.
She says the incident highlights the racist nature of alcohol laws in the Territory.
“What has increased is the criminalisation of Aboriginal people, who are otherwise hardworking members of our community,” she said.
“They have a right to expect to be treated equally before the law.”
Mr Shaw has not been disciplined over the issue and will remain in his job.
Tangentyere Council’s Patrick McDonald says Mr Shaw is the victim of alcohol restrictions that are unfairly based on race.
“If I … as a Tangentyere employee were to go home on Friday afternoon after work and give a lift to a family member or even if I was to purchase alcohol for myself and go to my own home, it would not be an issue for me,” he said.
“It is an issue for Walter Shaw, and the only reason it is an issue is because he is Aboriginal.”