Darwin Safer City Program

safer city program

i love darwin

In 2013 & 2015, City of Darwin hosted Public Intoxication Stakeholder Forums to discuss the complexities surrounding public intoxication. Both Forums considered public intoxication issues and what was needed to improve the Darwin experience. Clear themes emerged:

  • We ALL need to work in partnership – all spheres of government, industry and community.
  • We want local government to take more leadership in facilitating change.
  • We need to lessen alcohol supply.
  • We need to have a framework that steers our collective efforts.

Council reviewed the feedback from its first Forum and created a 12 month pilot project in partnership with stakeholders trialling efforts to reduce alcohol harms. Advocacy, partnership brokerage, partner collaboration, a direct engagement and linkage service with vulnerable people in public spaces with alcohol issues and a support service dedicated to building capacity of retailers and residents to address neighbourhood community safety issues, all formed the pilot.

Recognising that population level change takes time and resolve, and that no single agency in isolation can effectively respond to the adverse impacts of alcohol, the pilot has since been extended to a 3 year program with a range of actions:

Action 1: Safer City Plan (now Safer Vibrant Darwin Plan)

City of Darwin has developed the Safer Vibrant Darwin plan to help make our community a safer more vibrant place to live, work, visit and play.

After a vast community and stakeholder engagement process, Council developed a plan that seeks to create a safer more vibrant community – in partnership. The plan is informed by almost 750 survey responses, hundreds of conversations and two stakeholder forums and we are grateful for the investment and collaboration of so many, in working with the Darwin Safer City program to date.

The plan’s mission best describes its intent:

Darwin is a vibrant, inclusive, thriving community where visitors and residents feel safe, welcome and engaged in community life and where our services work in partnership to realise great quality of life for all.

There is no possibility of realising the plan by working in isolation.  No single organisation has either the mandate or resources to respond effectively to such complexities.

Download your copy of the plan


Action 2: Assertive Outreach Team

action 3

City of Darwin already provides Public Place Patrols, also known as Rangers, to encourage compliance with the City’s By-Laws.  The Assertive Outreach Team bolsters Council’s existing role by engaging directly with vulnerable people in public spaces with alcohol issues, to bridge them to the services they need, such as health, welfare, support and accommodation services.

This service aims to provide a more culturally safe, effective and coordinated response, coupled with the regulation of public spaces.  The Assertive Outreach Team also develops partnerships with other community health and wellbeing services to work collaboratively in public spaces and to help make service access as barrier free as possible.


Action 3: Safer Community Support Service

This specialised service builds capacity of our local retailers and residents in managing and responding to local community safety issues.  Underpinned by crime prevention principles, the service draws on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design approaches, community engagement and education and outreach approaches in its delivery.  We operate Monday to Friday during office hours.  

Action 4: Public Space activation

Faces in Spaces was launched in May 2016 thanks to a two year grant from the Commonwealth Government. 

Faces In Spaces will work with community to provide an imaginative calendar of experiences in locations including the Central Business District, Stuart Park, Nightcliff, Fannie Bay, Parap and the Gardens. Activities aim to increase the vibrancy and connectivity of Darwin while bringing public spaces to life from 2016 to 2017.

Public space activation is a popular approach because it provides a more positive means of invigorating and enhancing community spaces.


Action 5: Supply Reduction Advocacy


The Northern Territory has the highest density and diversity of liquor outlets in Australia. 1  Evidence shows a strong relationship between density of liquor outlets and alcohol related harms.  Council acknowledges reducing supply as a key leaver and has confirmed its commitment to advocating for change that would see a reduction over time in alcohol supply. 2

While Council is not directly responsible for liquor licensing, it can make submissions to the Director General of Licensing NT in the interests of community amenity and safety when new applications are considered.  Council also has policy on opposing any new license applications beyond 2am and alcohol in Council controlled spaces and places geared towards reducing harm.  Council also makes submissions as opportunities arise to advocate for reduction in supply. 

Examples have included the Senate Committee Enquiry into Alcohol Harms in Aboriginal Communities, the draft National Drug Strategy and draft National Alcohol Strategy and the Northern Territory Government’s draft Social Participation Framework. This work is ongoing and considered by Council on a case by case basis.


1 AMSANT (2008).  Options For Alcohol Control In The Northern Territory.
2 Australian Drug Foundation (2013).  Sharing Responsibility:  Local Government Policy Talk.

Darwin Inner City Packaged Liquor Accord

Council has worked with NT Police, the Liquor Stores Association of the NT, Australian Hotels Association (NT Branch) and a number of independent stores to develop a trial liquor accord. The Accord was created in response to public intoxication impacts on community life in and around Darwin City neighbourhoods.

The Accord is a formal voluntary agreement and demonstrated industry and stakeholders working together to improve community safety and neighbourhood amenity in the interests of supporting safer neighbourhoods.  The Darwin Inner City packaged Liquor Accord covers the areas of Darwin City, Stuart Park and Parap.

Open the poster below to see what strategies the Accord is trialling

accord 2015

Download a copy of the Accord 

The Accord began on July 12 for an initial 3 month period.  The Accord members and partners will meet prior to the end of the trial to review its impact and to decide if it will continue. Have link to a poster

Safer Vibrant Darwin

City of Darwin has delevloped a plan to help make our community a safer more vibrant place to live, work, visit and play. 

Find out more by downloading your copy of the plan

Check out the Working Together Signboard that many of our partners and stakeholders contributed to at the launch of the Safer Vibrant Darwin Plan in May 2016.

launch signboard