The Impact of Minimum Unit Price on Police-Recorded Alcohol-Related Assault Rates in the Northern Territory, Australia

Peter Miller, Kerri Coomber, Tayla Lowen, Nicholas Taylor, Michael Livingston, Debbie Scott, Penny Buykx, Richelle Mayshak, Ashlee Curtis, Ryan Baldwin, James A. Smith, Sarah Clifford, Tanya Chikritzhs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: From October 1, 2018, the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia introduced a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol of AU$1.30 per standard drink. The MUP was introduced to address the high alcohol consumption rates and harms within the NT. This study aimed to investigate the unique short-term impact of the MUP on alcohol-related assaults across the NT, for the NT overall and separately for four key regions (Darwin and Palmerston, Alice Springs, Katherine, and Tennant Creek); which allowed for the consideration of differences in concurrent alcohol interventions and population (e.g., Alice Springs had Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspectors (PALIs) introduced on October 1, 2018, whereas Darwin and Palmerston only had the MUP introduced in this period). PALIs effectively equate to a police officer being stationed in every off-premise liquor vendor. Method: Using data from January 2013 to September 2019, interrupted time series (ITS) analyses assessed the short-term impact of the MUP on the monthly rate of police-recorded alcohol-related assaults. Results: A 14% reduction (B =-3.07 [-5.40,-0.74], p < .010) was found for alcohol-related assault offenses per 10,000 in Darwin/Palmerston. Significant reductions were also noted in Alice Springs and the NT overall, although PALIs are likely to have contributed to these reductions in addition to the MUP. Conclusions: This short-term impact warrants longer-term follow-up to determine whether the reductions in alcohol-related assaults following the introduction of MUP are maintained, and the extent to which assault rates are influenced by other alcohol-policy interventions in the NT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-623
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Cite this