NT gov stuff up sees NT retailers told to take soy off shelves

In Alcohol, Australian Domestic Tourism, Business Resources, Food, Government, Harmonisation, Media and Communications, Momentum

NT gov stuff up sees NT retailers told to take soy off shelves. #harmonisenow

’It is government policy to support soy sauce’: Fyles

A crisis meeting between key soy sauce stakeholders to discuss the condiment’s future in the NT, will be held on Thursday Attorney-General Natasha Fyles has promised.

Ms Fyles confirmed the saucy meeting would take place during a press conference Wednesday morning.

“It is government policy to support soy sauce, that it is not an alcohol beverage,” Ms Fyles said.

“In terms of soy sauce — common sense will prevail.”

Ms Fyles said some products — including soy sauce — were unintentionally caught up in the NT’s liquor laws.

“There is three aspects to something being regarded as an alcoholic beverage — the alcohol content, the size of the product and whether is to be consumed,” she said.

“We do at times see people use alternative products to (alcohol).”

Today, the NT News revealed the NT Government will not guarantee condiments and medications will not have to be held behind the counter until the new Liquor Act comes into play on October 1.

Yesterday news broke that acting director general of licensing Sally Ozolins had written to businesses around the Territory, telling them to remove any product over 50ml with an alcohol content of more than 1.15 per cent from normal shelves as sales of those products required ID to be scanned in the Banned Drinker Register.

Items include soy sauce, cough syrup and nail polish remover.

Retail Drinks Australia chief executive Julie Ryan said the decision of Ms Ozolins was nonsensical.

“This goes against 40-plus years of the Liquor Act,” Ms Ryan said.

“We contacted Ms Ozolins’s office and sought an urgent meeting to discuss this issue and this interpretation, which is seemingly at odds with the Chief Minister and Attorney-General’s own interpretation as set out in the draft new Liquor Act currently before parliament.

“She is essentially asserting that every pharmacy, petrol station and supermarket in NT is in breach of the Liquor Act.

“Does this mean the end of honey soy satays barbecue in the park, teenagers working in food outlets handling these products, and no ability to access any of these products if you are on the BDR?”

A Department of the Attorney-General and Justice spokeswoman said changes were expected by October 1, but did not answer questions on whether the condiments would have to remain behind the counter until then.

“The Liquor Bill that is currently before parliament creates a mechanism for the exemption of non-beverage type products so that they will not be subject to the Liquor Act going forward,” she said.

“The Bill is scheduled to commence on 1 October, 2019.

“Licensing NT are preparing for the implementation of the Bill when it passes, and this is their main priority.”

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said the BDR was designed to tackle alcohol-related crime.

“It was not designed to affect products that can’t possibly cause alcohol-related crime,” Ms Fyles said.

“This is why the Government has created a mechanism to exempt non-beverage products (such as soy sauce) in the new Liquor Bill which is currently before parliament.”

‘I thought I’d do a bit of satire to get our customers having a bit of a giggle’: owner

A supermarket has showed its solidarity with the NT Licensing’s Public Enemy #1, soy sauce.

TERRITORIANS are still showing their support for soy sauce by making clothing declaring their allegiance to the condiment.

Moulden Supermarket owner Helen Harvey made herself and staff shirts reading ‘Decriminalise soy sauce now’, in response to the soy sauce debate between retailers and NT Licensing.

She said her staff jumped at the saucy idea.

“Everyone was in on it, no question about it,” she said.

“I thought I’d do a bit of satire to get our customers having a bit of a giggle.”

She received the shirts on Tuesday and said the response in stores and online was fantastic. “One customer came in yesterday and insisted he buy one of the shirts,” she said.

Last week the condiment was at risk of being put under the Banned Drinker Register, with the NT Government’s new Liquor Act 2019 to be released in October.

Days later it was confirmed soy sauce and other household items would not be affected by the proposed laws.

Ms Harvey said her customers weren’t fazed by the salty situation.

“I thought it was completely ridiculous … everyone thought it was stupid,” she said.

“There’s so much to worry about now, with licensing changes, this coming in and that going out. No one can keep up with it and that (soy sauce) on top of it is a killer.”

Ms Harvey said she would consider selling the shirts in a combo deal with a cup of dim sims and soy sauce.

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