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PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS DECRIMINALISED

Victoria is set to decriminalise public drunkenness, two years after Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day died from injuries sustained in custody after being arrested under the law, and days before a coronial inquest into her death begins.

The government has told the ABC that the existing laws will be replaced with a new health-based response to public drunkenness, with state Attorney-General Jill Hennessy saying the reform will be implemented in the coming months. Victoria and Queensland are the only states that still criminalise public drunkenness, something a 1999 royal commission found disproportionately affects Indigenous people, Nine papers report. Day’s family, who have been fighting for the reform, have welcomed “a great first step”, pointing out that “it took the death of our mother for the government to repeal laws that should have been abolished 30 years ago”, The Guardian reports.