About dry areas

Changes to the NT Liquor Act

On 1 October 2019, liquor laws changed in the Northern Territory (NT).

The information below is currently under review.

For more up to date information, contact Licensing NT.

This page has information about the types of restrictions in place across the Northern Territory (NT) for drinking and buying alcohol.

Total alcohol ban

There are more than 100 places in the NT where alcohol is totally banned under the law. Read about the Liquor Act 1978.

These are known as general restricted areas, which are controlled by the NT Government, or alcohol protected areas, which are controlled by the Federal Government.

Alcohol is totally banned in these areas outside a licensed premises without a liquor permit.

You will find signage at the entrance of these communities telling you whether it is a general restricted or an alcohol protected area.

Read more about alcohol restrictions in NT communities.

In some cases:

  1. Alcohol may be brought into a general restricted area under conditions stated on a permit - eg: for consumption at permit holders’ homes, where there is no licensed liquor outlet, in the case of Lajamanu, Maningrida, Wadeye, Barunga and Yirrkala.
  2. Alcohol is available from a local community outlet, for drinking at a defined drinking area, such as Beswick, which has a permit system and a social club but no takeaway alcohol sales.

If you are from Beswick, you can:

  • buy takeaway alcohol from another area
  • drink takeaway alcohol at home.

Find out more information on applying for an alcohol ban in your area.

Ban on alcohol in a public area

This is known as a public restricted area and will have signage in place.

If you drink alcohol in a public restricted area, the police can do all of the following:

  • search you for alcohol
  • take your alcohol and/or tip it out
  • give you a fine
  • take you to court where you can be given a maximum fine of 20 penalty units.

However, you can carry or transport unopened alcohol through a public restricted area to another unrestricted area or private premises to drink.

Find out where you can't drink in the NT.

Regulated drinking areas

Drinking alcohol in a public place is banned within 2km of a licensed premises everywhere in the NT. Only a small number of places have exemptions.

These areas will have signage telling you that you are in a regulated area. You can be fined or taken to court if you are found drinking alcohol in these areas.

Ban on drinking at private premises

This is known as a private restricted area. Each private restricted area must have signage at the front of the premises.

This is a private premise, such as a home or business, where alcohol is totally banned.

Find out more information on applying for a ban in your home or business.

Emergency alcohol bans

This is as known as special restricted area.

An area can be declared as special restricted area in urgent situations when it is considered to be for the wellbeing of the community.

A total alcohol ban will be in place unless you have a permit.

Last updated: 25 August 2022

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