New pepper spray laws for the Territory

Pepper spray access in Australia would be changed under new laws proposed by the Northern Territory Government.
Pepper spray in Australia

Security guards at bottle shops in the Northern Territory could soon be able to carry pepper spray.

New measures designed to protect bottle shop workers have been tabled by the NT Government in Parliament this week.

Pepper (or capsicum) spray causes a burning pain when sprayed onto a person’s eyes and skin.

Pepper spray in Australia

Pepper spray is commonly used by police to restrain people deemed to be behaving dangerously or violently.

It’s banned for public use in most of Australia, including the NT.

The NT Government is seeking to allow private security guards to carry pepper spray when stationed outside bottle shops.

Northern Territory laws

Under the proposal, guards would be required to complete a training program before being issued with pepper spray.

The program would include teaching guards how to care for a person who has been sprayed and how to minimise third-party exposure.

Once the program is completed and an individual is approved, guards will be given a licence to use pepper spray.

Bottle shop safety

Arming bottle shop security guards with pepper spray was first proposed by the Government in March, as part of several initiatives aimed at improving community safety.

This included a Government agreement to fund the temporary use of security staff at bottle shops, after a 20-year-old man was fatally stabbed at a Darwin bottle shop earlier this year.

Buy-back scheme

A buy-back scheme of grocery store liquor licences was announced in March. Stores can receive compensation in exchange for giving up their license to sell alcohol.

The NT Government said three stores, all in Darwin, had agreed to a buy-back offer, while about 40% of licensees have expressed interest in a buy-back deal.

Grocery store liquor licences were granted up until 2019, when a review recommended no new licenses be issued.

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