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New law lets Uluru tourists drink alcohol

Published:  23 July, 2008

Tourists to Uluru and other Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory will be allowed to drink alcohol, following the Australian government's controversial amendment to a new law.

On Saturday, federal laws will come into effect banning the purchase and transport of alcohol on indigenous land, but the government is already planning to exempt tourist groups.

Bottle shops will now record the identity of any Northern Territory resident who buys more than $100 (40) of alcohol or more than 5 litres of cask or flagon wine. The law previously required details of those buying more than 1,350ml of pure alcohol.

Legitimate tourism operators in national parks will also be exempt from alcohol bans "as part of their usual tourism activity", with special arrangements at Uluru.

Northern Territory Alcohol Policy Minister Chris Burns said the amendment went against the legislation's intent, which was to target "problem drinkers and grog runners".

He said it compromised those Northern Territorians outside of Aboriginal communities who bought fine wine by the case or wanted to camp and have a drink on indigenous lands without an organised tour group.