An evaluation of the Katherine Alcohol Management Plan and Liquor Supply Plan


The Northern Territory exhibits a high level of alcohol consumption, and Katherine is no exception. It is relevant to note that almost a quarter of their population is indigenous, and the impact this has on alcohol problems in the community. In recent decades a number of initiatives have addressed alcohol problems at a local level in Katherine, most of them framed as responses to ‘anti-social behaviour’, a term which is widely used in public discourse in NT towns to refer to Aboriginal public drunkenness. The Katherine Alcohol Management Plan (AMP) contains three headings; Supply Reduction, Harm Reduction and Demand Reduction, aimed at addressing their alcohol problem. Their report examines the implementation of these measures and their outcomes. After assessing a number of measures, including the whole sale supplies of alcohol to Katherine and indicators of alcohol related harm, the reports finds that alcohol related harm has not been reduced by these initiatives and recommends a change in strategy.A set of measures, developed by the Katherine Region Harmony Group, was officially endorsed in November 2007 by the NT Licensing Commission, and Katherine was declared a ‘Dry Zone’ – that is, an area in which public consumption of alcohol was prohibited, from 21 January 2008. The evaluation was conducted by a team from the Menzies School of Health Research for the NT Department of Justice. The methodology used indicators of alcohol-related harm and considered the social and historical context in which the Katherine AMP evolved. A ‘process evaluation’, looks at the steps taken to implement the AMP and a survey was conducted to gauge the extent of support for, or opposition to, the Plans. It is recommended that in addressing alcohol problems in Katherine, due emphasis be placed in future on the broad range of acute and chronic harms arising from alcohol misuse rather than on public drunkenness as the sole problem.