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Petrol sales restricted in Northern Territory community during festive season to reduce alcohol use

Date posted: 18 December 2017

Community leaders in a remote Aboriginal community in Central Australia have limited the sale of petrol over Christmas to stop people leaving town and bringing in alcohol. Residents of the community of Papunya, 240 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, can only buy up to $20 worth of fuel at a time. At $2.20 a litre, that equates to just over nine litres.

Community leaders have implemented the fuel restriction in an effort to stop 'grog running' and drug trafficking in the community, but not everyone supports the idea. It's a controversial initiative but was needed to stop the problem before it got 'too out of control', said Papunya Coordinator for MacDonnell Regional Council, Clint Healey. 'We're trying to stop the grog running that's been coming into the community, it's getting a bit out of hand,' he said. 

Mr Healey said there were alternative transport options available for people who needed to travel to Alice Springs for medical or other valid reasons. 'We've got the bush bus services that run out here if they need medical, the clinic organises to get them on the bush bus and bring them back in and out of town,' he said.

The decision to limit fuel sales was made in consultation with community leaders and traditional owners, police, the church pastor, and the shire council, said community leader Sammy Butcher. It will be in place for the duration of the Christmas holidays. 'We just want to make sure that people feel safe to go around the community… we're trying to help people have a good holiday.'

But Mr Healey noted that not everyone in the community supported the idea. 'It's a little bit unfair in some ways if people want to get into town to do shopping,' he said. 'And people who aren't doing the wrong thing, it's punishing them as well, which is not really right. But our main concern is the grog running and the welfare of the children and the women.'

Source: ABC news


Last updated: 18 December 2017
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