If you really, really want a drink...

Posted by: EndGame

If you really, really want a drink... - 07/07/05 08:25 AM

Alcohol has been banned in two small Australian Aboriginal communities to stop young people from a nearby alcohol-free township from risking their lives by swimming a crocodile-infested river to get a drink.

Aboriginal elders from the communities of Perrederr and Nardirri, about 270 km (168 miles) southwest of the tropical northern city of Darwin, asked for the ban, which was granted by the Northern Territory Licensing Commission.

"In the recent past ... young people had been known to swim across the Moyle River from a restricted area in order to drink at Nardirri," the commission said after a petition by Felix Gumbaduk, a traditional owner of land covering the two communities.

"The Moyle River has a healthy population of crocodiles and it was a real concern to him not only that someone may be killed but that his family might be blamed," the commission said.

Perrederr and Nardirri are home to about 40 people.

Australia's 400,000 Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders, who make up two percent of the 20 million population, remain the most disadvantaged group, dying 20 years younger than other Australians amid high rates of unemployment and alcohol abuse.

Since 1979, Northern Territory Aboriginal communities have been able to have areas declared alcohol-free with penalties including forfeiture of cars or boats used to transport alcohol, fines of up to A$2,000 ($1,500) and up to two years in jail.

Crocodile attacks make headlines in Australia, yet only about a dozen people have been killed in the past 20 years. But the Northern Territory's population has exploded to around 70,000 animals in the wild with another 18,000 in six crocodiles farms. ($1=A$1.33)

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