Bars in Darwin have agreed to limit the number of drinks patrons can buy in a bid to reduce alcohol-related violence in the city.
Under the Australian Hotels Association initiative, member bars have agreed to limit drinks to four per customer during happy hours and after midnight, and to ban shots after 1am.
Shots with an alcohol content of more than 51 per cent will be banned altogether.
“It’s important we’re seen as part of the solution and not just part of the problem,” said Mick Burns, senior vice president of the AHA NT.
For the past year Chief Minister Adam Giles has refused to implement a Newcastle-type solution to alcohol-related violence in the NT, and told an AHA awards dinner last year that the NT’s drinking culture was a “core social value”.
[polldaddy poll=7796088]He denied his government was too close to the liquor industry.
“Darwin is not Newcastle, it is not Kings Cross, it is not Wollongong, ” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We don’t want to be a government of a nanny state that puts in place rules without working in co-operation with local people.”
The new regulations apply only to the Darwin city centre, and there are no plans to roll it out across the rest of the Territory.
Earlier closing times were considered but not implemented, Mr Giles said.
Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim said Darwin’s night-time economy is worth $444 million a year and “it’s very important that people participate” in it.
The NT government has pointed to statistics showing that per capita alcohol consumption in 2012-13 was four per cent less than the previous year, and that wholesale supply dropped two per cent.
Since 2011 the government has introduced a mandatory alcohol treatment program and alcohol protection orders (APOs).
Mr Giles said there were now more police on the beat, and in its first month of operation, more than 500 APOs have been enforced, with a 15.8 per cent drop in acts intended to cause injury while under the influence of alcohol.