Aims:

To examine the planning and early implementation process associated with the reintroduction of the Banned Drinker Register (BDR) in the Northern Territory.

Evaluation Questions:

Three key questions underpinned this evaluation:

  • Was the policy implemented as intended?
  • Is the BDR meeting its objectives?
  • What improvements or changes are required?
Summary:
  • The BDR is a policy initiative which aims to improve community health and safety by reducing alcohol-related harms. It is an explicit alcohol supply reduction measure that involves placing people that consume alcohol at harmful levels, to themselves or others, onto a register which prohibits the consumption, possession or purchase of alcohol. In its current format, the limitation of purchasing is enacted through take-away alcohol outlets. The length of time an individual is on the BDR may differ from three, six or 12 months.
  • The BDR had initially been introduced in 2011-2012. It was decommissioned swiftly during a change of government, without any formal evaluation of the planning and implementation processes, or subsequent impacts or outcomes.
  • The BDR was officially reintroduced in the NT on 1 September 2017. The Minister for Health made a commitment that the BDR implementation process would be evaluated by June 2018 with independent oversight. Menzies School of Health Research was approached to assist with this task in March 2018.
Implications for policy and practice:
  • The evaluation included 23 recommendations directed towards the Northern Territory Government to inform future policy, practice and research related to the BDR 
Our research has found:

This evaluation found that:

  1. BDR is one of many alcohol harm minimisation policy initiatives, it does not work in isolation. It forms part of the contribution in achieving a healthier and safer community by reducing alcohol related harms.
  2. The influences, impacts and outcomes of the BDR need to be understood in the context of other alcohol harm minimisation policy reforms and initiatives underway in the NT (such as those outlined in the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-19). 
  3. The BDR is working effectively in identifying a sub-set of people who misuse alcohol and are engaged in anti-social behaviour and the justice system.
  4. The BDR is changing some people’s behaviours around alcohol use – but there are still people on the BDR accessing alcohol and engaging in behaviour that brings them into contact with the justice system. Secondary supply and grog running are not stopped by the BDR.
  5. The self-referral option offered through the BDR is showing encouraging signs of uptake. This voluntary pathway could be promoted further.
  6. The BDR provides a unique opportunity to engage in assertive health promotion outreach activities. This element can be strengthened through engagement of the community based alcohol and other drugs workforce.
  7. The uptake of therapeutic services among people on the BDR has been low.  The promotion of these services and the respective referral pathways could be enhanced.
Project Manager

Prof James Smith

Contact information

Prof James Smith

Project dates

Completed

  1. Drinkers get grog despite register

    Drinkers get grog despite register

    Date

    The article, which was published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration last week, summarises the findings of two 2019 studies by the Menzies School of Health Research, in which NT licensees were interviewed about their views on alcohol policy.

  2. Sunday Territorian - Bushranger

    Sunday Territorian - Bushranger

    Date

    Mention of Menzies Tuesday Seminar

  3. Sunday Territorian | Liquor watches drunk on power

    Sunday Territorian | Liquor watches drunk on power

    Date

    Sunday Soapbox opinion piece - Hayley Sorensen - mentions Menzies research on the costs and harms of alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory

  4. MENZIES SCHOOL OF HEALTH RESEARCH RECOGNISED WITH NATIONAL AWARD

    MENZIES SCHOOL OF HEALTH RESEARCH RECOGNISED WITH NATIONAL AWARD

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research, has won the Research Award at the 2019 National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards in Melbourne.

  5. According to NT government, their alcohol reforms are working

    According to NT government, their alcohol reforms are working

    Date

    The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm in the NT has increased according to research released by the Menzies School of Health Research.

  6. NT News | Alcohol related problems are costing Territory Taxpayers

    NT News | Alcohol related problems are costing Territory Taxpayers

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research | social and economic costs of alcohol in the Northern Territory.

  7. More banned drinkers busted trying to buy grog in Katherine than anywhere else

    More banned drinkers busted trying to buy grog in Katherine than anywhere else

    Date

    The independent evaluation overseen by Menzies School of Health Research points to a reduction in the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers and reductions for individuals whose alcohol related behaviour was causing repeat offending.

  8. Safer Communities: BDR Evaluation Shows Positive Results

    Safer Communities: BDR Evaluation Shows Positive Results

    Date

    The independent evaluation overseen by Menzies School of Health Research points to a reduction in the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers and reductions for individuals whose alcohol related behaviour was causing repeat offending.

  9. ‘Backlash’: Northern Territory alcohol floor price divides community

    ‘Backlash’: Northern Territory alcohol floor price divides community

    Date

    This is how it’s always been in the Territory – a “dualistic framing” – according to Peter d’Abbs, the professor of substance misuse studies at the Menzies School of Health Research.

  10. 'Long-grassers' admit easy access to grog despite reintroduction of banned drinker register

    'Long-grassers' admit easy access to grog despite reintroduction of banned drinker register

    Date

    A six-month review of the BDR conducted by the Menzies School of Health Research showed it was having an impact, but was not intended to work effectively in isolation.

  11. NT Government media release | Evaluation of BDR

    NT Government media release | Evaluation of BDR

    Date

    Safer Communities and Generational Change: Alcohol Reform Progress Update Report and BDR Evaluation Response

  12. Katherine Times | Alcohol reforms rolled out, BDR on track

    Katherine Times | Alcohol reforms rolled out, BDR on track

    Date

    The BDR Evaluation covers the first 6 months of operation and was conducted independently by Menzies School of Health Research and released in June 2018.

  13. NT Government | Evaluation Shows BDR Working to Cut Supply of Alcohol to Problem Drinkers

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research has provided independent oversight of the 6-month process evaluation of the implementation of the BDR.

  14. EXPERT REACTION: NT to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol

    EXPERT REACTION: NT to be first jurisdiction in Australia with minimum floor price on alcohol

    Date

    The Northern Territory will become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol. The NT Government says that it would implement a minimum $1.30 floor price per standard drink for all alcoholic beverages. Aussie experts react to the story