Aboriginal alcohol use 'tracked'

Australian government to use 'ID system' to monitor drinking in Northern Territory.

    Police and troops are to enter aboriginal communities to enforce alcohol bans [GALLO/GETTY]
    The scheme is set to be trialed at the outback tourist centre of Katherine, south of Darwin where a report found that 21 litres of pure alcohol was consumed per person per year.
    The report showed that the average Australian drank around nine litres of pure alcohol each year.
    Tourists exempt
    The tracking scheme, Burns said, would apply to anyone buying even a single can of beer.
    A government database linked to every liquor store would record daily alcohol purchases and warn of any court-ordered prohibition on sale.
    But critics said the scheme discriminated against transient Aborigines and did not apply to all Australians, or the many tourists visited Katherine to see the spectacular cliffs of nearby Katherine Gorge.
    John Boffa, a spokesman for the People's Alcohol Action Coalition said: "I think there would be a significant number of heavy drinkers who don't have IDs."
    John Howard, the Australian prime minister, said in June said Aboriginal child sexual abuse was a national emergency after a recent report found abuse was widespread in the outback Northern Territory, largely fuelled by "rivers of grog", or alcohol.
    Howard said 64 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory would be placed under virtual martial law.
    Police and troops are to enforce alcohol and pornography bans at a cost of more than A$500 million ($427 million).
    Australia's 460,000 Aborigines make up two percent of the 20 million population.
    Most live in remote communities or towns with poor access to health and education and often complain of discrimination.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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