The Howard government's race-based Intervention-era alcohol bans are set to expire in the Northern Territory after almost 15 years.
Hundreds of dry remote Indigenous communities and camps will soon be able to choose if they have access to alcohol, after the law ends in July.
As a result, the territory Labor government has introduced changes to local liquor laws which it says will give communities the option to continue alcohol restrictions for a further two years.
This will allow time for the NT government to consult with Indigenous groups about their long-term plan for alcohol management, a spokesman said.
But the NT Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance warns the amendments could be a "recipe for disaster and open the floodgates" to alcohol if communities fail to ask the Liquor Licensing department to declare them dry.
"This is a dangerous move that could undo the good results of many of the NT government's own alcohol reforms," a spokeswoman said.
"If (communities) either do nothing or choose to let takeaway alcohol in, the upshot will be a mix of dry and unrestricted communities that will be impossible to monitor, with alcohol flowing freely between them.
"It's a recipe for disaster."
NT opposition spokesman Bill Yan says the amendments were poorly planned policy and could create misery if remote communities don't opt in.
"For six years Labor has sensationally failed to consult with peak Indigenous bodies representing the Territorians who will be impacted by these law changes," he said.
The County Liberal Party said it won't support the bill, which is set to be debated in parliament this week.
The Commonwealth's alcohol bans came into force during the NT Emergency Response, which is also known as the Intervention, in 2007.
They continued under the Commonwealth's Stronger Futures Act in 2012.
The NT government said Aboriginal Territorians weren't adequately consulted about that legislation and it's inconsistent with the principles of self-determination.
Australian Associated Press
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