Booze fears as itinerants cash in millions in royalties
CASHED-UP itinerants have been spotted playing $5000 a hand card games by Larrakia Nation patrols after some individual remote residents visiting Darwin recently cashed in on up to $150,000 in royalty payments.
Larrakia patrollers saw a massive 60 per cent spike in alcohol-related call-outs early this year, and things are now expected to get worse due to huge amounts of royalty back pay now flowing through.
A Larrakia Nation spokesman said groups of cashed-up remote community residents were playing card games for $5000 a hand down around East Point and Bundilla Beach.
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"We saw one bloke bet the papers of a car worth about $60,000 during one of these card games," he said.
"This has been happening because there's a lot of royalty money that's recently been back paid that's out there.
"We're talking about around 200 people being paid up to $150,000 each.
"Unfortunately, this also means problems with people drinking and secondary supply around Darwin will likely get even worse.
"We've had to help out a few people around town who have been targeted by opportunists who are trying to force others to withdraw this money to buy grog for themselves."
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said there had been a "significant increase" in the secondary supply of alcohol in Darwin.
The spike has been attributed to the doubling of Centrelink payments and early access to superannuation during COVID.
"Police have been picking up alcohol that's being sold, and it's been cold," Mr Gunner said. "So that's obviously come from somewhere.
"Police have been doing a lot of targeted working around secondary supply, and they're doing a lot of work preparing for what might be a part of that change in that money playing out."
NT Police Superintendent Daniel Shean said police from the Darwin and Social Order Division regularly target secondary supply.
He said this included operations specifically focused on secondary supply.
Larrakia Nation patrols have also reported a big increase in home-brew-related call-outs around Darwin.
"There are a lot more people drinking home-brew or 'jungle juice' at the moment," the spokesman said.
"Chroming is getting very bad; I've never seen it this bad.
"People are mainly using aerosols, but we've also seen a rise in people using the chemicals in hair dye kits to get high.
"We recently found about six of those kits in parks."
It comes after an NT News investigation revealed the extra money provided to help people through the pandemic had seen a surge in alcohol and drug consumption, as well as gambling.
Originally published as Booze fears as itinerants cash in millions in royalties: Larrakia Nation