Efforts to tackle the Northern Territory's many alcohol-related social problems are working, insists the Gunner Labor Government, despite recent increases of break-ins at Darwin licensed premises.
CCTV footage in recent weeks has showed itinerants in the CBD breaking into restaurants and bars in the middle of the night to steal alcohol.
The NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said on Thursday its alcohol reforms were working, in an update one year since it responded to the alcohol review it commissioned by former NT Supreme Court chief justice Trevor Riley.
Territorians are Australia's biggest drinkers and more likely to end up in hospital from related risky behaviour, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The social and economic cost of alcohol-related harm in the NT had increased from $642 million in 2009 to $1.38 billion per year, research released on Thursday by the Menzies School of Health Research said.
Ms Fyles had there had been a 44 per cent reduction in alcohol-related assaults in Alice Springs between September and December 2018 compared to a year ago.
There had been a 24.5 per cent decrease in alcohol-related emergency department presentations in NT hospitals in December 2018 compared to December 2017.
Police statistics show crimes against the person were down 1.4 per cent last year and against commercial properties by 13 per cent, which the government cites as evidence things are improving, but that does not mean separate the CBD.
Commercial property break-ins have risen since June.
"The early signs are these measures are working, we acknowledge there is a lot more work to do overcoming the social challenges of alcohol, the impact on our community through anti-social behaviour, crime and the impact it has on our health system," Ms Fyles told reporters
"One measure will not solve the Territory's alcohol problems, we need a number of measures to plug those holes.
There are now 4000 people on a Banned Drinkers Register introduced last year that aims to stop the wrong people getting it.
A minimum floor price - the first in Australia - has pushed up the cost of the cheapest grog.
Critics including Country Liberal Opposition leader Gary Higgins say that while the government trumpets its reforms as "holistic, health and rehabilitation-based and achieving generational change" that is long-term and not providing relief to today's victims.
However, Ms Fyles said there now more frontline police, police liquor inspectors that man bottle shops and increased Larrakia Nation Day Patrols - which are run by Darwin's traditional indigenous owners.
Australian Associated Press