Territory’s liquor licensing boss leaves during period of alcohol policy upheaval
Long-time NT public servant Cindy Bravos has left her role as Director-General of Licensing. (Supplied: LinkedIn)
The woman responsible for rolling out alcohol restrictions in the troubled town of Tennant Creek has left her role as the Territory’s Director-General of Licensing.
- Director-General of Licensing NT Cindy Bravos has left her role after a long tenure in the public service
- Ms Bravos oversaw an intense period of alcohol policy shift in the Territory which included the rollout of the BDR
- Attorney-General Natasha Fyles has appointed a replacement to stay in the position for six months
Cindy Bravos was appointed to the position under the former Country Liberal Party in 2015 to oversee administration and regulation of the NT’s lucrative and often controversial liquor, racing and gaming industries.
After just over three years in the job, Ms Bravos said she had “decided to transition to retirement” from January 1, 2019.
Ms Bravos will be replaced by former Crown prosecutor Sally Ozolins, the current Deputy Director-General of Licensing, who has been appointed to act in the role for six months until the commencement of the NT’s new Liquor Act.
Following this date there is expected to be a dramatic restructuring of the role and significant decrease of the Director-General’s powers.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles today said Ms Bravos would “step down from the role … in order to pursue other interests”.
“Ms Bravos will continue to contribute to the regulatory environment of the Northern Territory through her continuing appointment as a member of the Racing Commission which has responsibility for the regulation of the racing and betting industries of the NT,” Ms Fyles said.
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said Ms Bravos would “step down from the role”. (AAP: Neda Vanovac)
The outgoing Director-General said she had worked for 30 years as a public servant in for both the Commonwealth and Territory Government.
“I … know that I have contributed to better outcomes for both the Territory and Australia,” Ms Bravos said.
Period of sweeping alcohol changes
Ms Bravos’s tenure in the position was at times fraught with controversy.
She was a key figure in the stoush between liquor giant Dan Murphy’s and the NT Government, when the outlet first began their push to open a store at a Darwin Airport site in 2016.
According to Endeavour Drinks Group’s Shane Tremble, Ms Bravos was the first to tell him the Gunner Government would oppose the Dan Murphy’s application, a decision which was eventually reversed by Labor in 2017.
The period saw alcohol-related issues such as crime and anti-social behaviour rise to the fore of public anger, amid a series of government policy shifts, including the reintroduction of NT Labor’s hallmark alcohol policy, the Banned Drinker Register.
Cindy Bravos played a role in rolling out grog restrictions in Tennant Creek this year. (ABC: Bridget Brennan)
In particular, the rape of a two-year-old child in Tennant Creek in February 2018 drew intense national attention, and was the catalyst for Ms Bravos to rollout liquor restrictions in the Barkly town.
“Licensing NT has an important role in supporting the right of all Territory residents to live in a safe community,” Ms Bravos said at the time.
The decision, which saw restrictions on takeaway alcohol implemented over a number of the town’s pubs, faced a vocal backlash from the town’s hospitality sector.
Ms Bravos also oversaw the rollout of licensing inspectors coming into Top End and Red Centre pubs, clubs and restaurants, in order to make sure venues were complying with legislation.