06 October 2022

The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA), wants to see liquor licensees taking more responsibility for the safety and security of their premises, following a spike in public drunkenness and anti-social behaviour at takeaway liquor outlets, particularly in Central Australia.

NTPA President, Paul McCue, said the end of Stronger Futures has seen wide-spread access to alcohol right across the Territory.

“Before the end of this legislation, it was a key role of Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors (PALI) to ensure customers were not taking alcohol into dry areas. Now that those restrictions have been scrapped, PALIs have had their role watered down to, basically, security guards.

“Data provided from our members in Alice Springs shows in the 70 days since the cessation of Stronger Futures, there have been on average 217 refusals per day – or 15,000. Around 95 percent of those refusals were for intoxication. In the same period prior to the end of the legislation, PALIs were undertaking around 48 refusals per day.

“Let’s put the onus back on the business owners who are selling the alcohol into our community, to provide their own security.

“The Minimum Floor Price review, released yesterday by Government, shows while there was a decrease in cask wine sales, there was an increase in the sale of other alcohol, most notably spirits – with drinkers turning from cask wine to hard liquor. Feedback from our members is an increase in secondary supply, and people accessing alcohol from across the border in Queensland and Western Australia - which falls on the shoulders of police to combat.

“The report also highlights that there was no significant impact on the number of drink-driving crashes or alcohol-related emergency department presentations in Greater Darwin – which doesn’t have PALIs.

“We know refusals at the point of sale are effective – but it shouldn’t be a police role. Why are Territory taxpayers still forking out for police to act as security guards at these businesses which have seen an increase in profits since the introduction of the floor price?

“We know there’s a serious problem with the retention of PALIs, of course it’s not the most desirable job. Recent feedback from our members indicated only around half of the 41 PALI positions in Alice Springs were filled, with the shortfall being picked up by Constables.

“Why can’t the 75 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector (PALI) positions within NTPOL transition to Constable roles to address staggering levels of domestic violence and alcohol-fuelled harm?

“Our members are feeling incredibly frustrated. They want to be out there, proactively policing – but it’s hard to do that when you’re stuck on a bottle shop, turning away drunks.

“We want to see police back on the beat and takeaway liquor outlets hiring their own security guards. It’s time for private businesses to take responsibility for the safety of their premises,” said Mr McCue.


Please direct all media enquiries to NTPA Communications Officer, Kyrrie Blenkinsop +61 (0) 499 017 654 or

The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) is the industrial voice of all members of the Northern Territory Police Force. Read more via or join us on Facebook at