Changes to alcohol restrictions in NT communities
On 17 July 2022, the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act 2012 (Cth) (Stronger Futures Act) ended.
This means some Aboriginal communities that were alcohol protected areas (APAs) in the Northern Territory (NT) no longer have alcohol restrictions.
If your community was also a general restricted area (GRA) under the Liquor Act 2019, the restricted possession and consumption of alcohol will remain.
Your community may also continue to have restrictions if it applies to be an interim APA under the Act. Read below for more information.
Check what applies to your community
To check which community these changes apply to, see an interactive map of all alcohol exclusion areas in the NT on Google My Maps.
You can also get a list of:
If you think a community should not be on a list, contact your local regional office to let them know.
Despite the restrictions ending, some communities may want to keep their community dry.
To allow this to happen, the NT Government (NTG) passed a law that allows them to apply for an interim APA that lasts until 16 July 2024.
This will give your community time to fully consult with everyone and decide if you want to:
- stay dry
- end alcohol restrictions.
The NTG can help with this and answer questions about how the new process will work. Get the flowchart of this process.
Find out which places have been declared an interim APA on the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.
Before you apply
Applications must have written support of the registered land owner. This could be:
- an incorporated association under NT legislation
- a land trust
- a corporation formed under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth).
You must also have confirmation of the land title and a map of the land with clearly defined boundaries.
How to apply
Applications are now open until 31 January 2023.
To apply for an interim APA, follow these steps.
Step 1. Fill in the application for an interim APA.
Step 2. Submit your application and supporting documents to your local regional office.
If your community didn't apply for an interim APA by 16 July 2022
Communities have until 31 January 2023 to apply for an interim APA.
But this means from 17 July 2022 to when the interim APA application is granted, people can drink alcohol in the community.
Once the community is granted an interim APA, it will continue until 16 July 2024.
Get the flowchart of this process.
After an interim APA expires
If your community wants to continue alcohol restrictions after their interim APA expires on 16 July 2024, you must apply for a GRA.
Under a GRA, your community can choose to:
- completely restrict the possession and consumption of alcohol
- allow limited levels of possession and consumption.
For example, your community might choose to allow alcohol to be sold and consumed at a community club. If you want a licensed club, you must apply for a liquor licence through the Liquor Commission.
The Liquor Commission can declare a GRA and will only do so if there has been significant community consultation.
This will replace your community’s previous interim APA. Read more about getting alcohol banned in your area.
If your community is only an APA and doesn’t want to continue their alcohol restrictions from 17 July 2022, you don’t need to do anything.
If your community changes its mind:
- before 31 January 2023, you can apply for an interim APA
- after 31 January 2023, you can apply to get alcohol banned in your area through a GRA.
A community can choose to apply for a variation to their GRA through the NT Liquor Commission.
If most of the community no longer wants to be a GRA, you can apply to the Liquor Commission to have it removed.
But this will mean people can bring alcohol into the community and there won't be any restrictions.
If you would like more information to help your community decide what to do, contact your nearest local regional office.
Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield
Last updated: 01 December 2022
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