Australian PM announces alcohol restrictions amid Outback crime crisis

CANBERRA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced new restrictions on Tuesday to curb a crime crisis in central Australia.

Albanese met with community leaders in Alice Springs, the largest city in the Australian Outback, Tuesday evening to discuss a spike of alcohol-fuelled violence in the region.

The visit came after days of intense pressure from the Opposition for the federal government to intervene in the crisis.

According to data from Northern Territory (NT) Police, assaults in Alice Springs have increased by 43 percent over the last year.

After meeting with representatives of the Indigenous community, law enforcement and the NT government, Albanese said alcohol sales would be limited to one transaction per person per day.

Monday and Tuesday will be "takeaway alcohol-free days" and takeaway alcohol sales will be limited to between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. every other day.

"These are complex problems in Alice Springs and they require a full solution, which requires different levels of government to work together," Albanese told reporters.

The new measures will be in place for an initial period of three months.

Natasha Fyles, the chief minister of the NT, conceded that not everyone would welcome the restrictions but said they were necessary.

"So I do ask the community to understand we do not take these decisions lightly but these are measures to reduce the amount of alcohol in our community," she said.

"It is a decision that police fully support and by reducing that amount of alcohol, we will reduce the harm."