Laws to ban drinking at home May 4, 2008 14:56:14 GMT -5
Post by Flash on May 4, 2008 14:56:14 GMT -5
Laws to ban drinking at home
Article from: The Daily Telegraph
By Clare Masters, Political Reporter
May 05, 2008 12:00am
DRINKING a glass of wine in your own home could be illegal under extreme new liquor laws that rubber-stamp the use of no-go alcohol zones in NSW.
Stirring up images of 1930s' prohibition in the US, the Iemma Government is using the total ban on alcohol in some Aboriginal communities as a blueprint.
Under the plan, drinking hotspots across the state can be labelled as "restricted alcohol areas" for up to three years under new laws that are just 10 weeks away.
A document recently published by the State Government reveals the detail of the alcohol bans outlining that areas of "chronic alcohol abuse" can be slapped with a range of restrictions.
"Restrictions will not be limited to indigenous communities," the paper reads.
Under the new laws, any area of the state can be declared a restricted alcohol zone and it applies to the sale of alcohol as well as possession and consumption in any premises - licensed or not.
Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, teetotaller Gaming Minister Graham West said the bans will only be implemented if requested by a broad section of the community and will not be government enforced.
Mr West said they would be decided on a case-by-case basis and developed specifically for the area.
"This is for communities that say 'we have a specific issue and we want to try this as part of the solution'. It might be a restriction of types of alcohol, times of alcohol sales or (a ban on) alcohol being brought into the area," he said.
"It could be that light beer only is allowed or it could be a restriction on all alcohol brought into the area - it is a full range of options that have been left pretty broad.
"It must be community initiated. It is not a big brother approach."
Mr West said it was "new territory" and it was still undecided as to what penalties might be imposed if someone was caught with alcohol in a banned zone.
He said the legislation was more likely to work in a rural town where it was more easily policed but did not rule out it being used in any Sydney metropolitan area.
"We've got to work all this out. It is new ground for us. We want to see what the community wants to do and then look at the regulations that go with that," he said.
Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia's Paul Dillon said it was a radical solution for a serious problem.
"This sort of thing drives things underground. No one who has any expertise in this area is saying we should ban alcohol," he said.