The draft, handed to community leaders yesterday, specifies that only low to mid-strength beer can be sold or brought onto the island.

Islanders will not be able to possess cartons of beer holding more than 24 cans or stubbies.

Wine, spirits and other alcoholic beverages will be banned.

Cars, dinghies, ferry barges and planes will be permitted to carry one carton of beer at a time, regardless of how many people are travelling on board.

The restrictions will apply to all Palm Island residents.

A canteen will be open for business, but only between the hours of 4pm to 9pm, from Monday to Saturday.

The community has been given until February 7 to respond to the proposal.

Palm Island’s chairwoman, Erykah Kyle, has reportedly distributed a leaflet to residents stating that the “council does not agree with the lack of understanding of the State Government in this plan.”

Instead, Ms Kyle said attention and resources should be diverted to opening a diversionary centre, a detox centre and more housing, council and police services, the statement read according to a report by the Courier Mail.

In a report by the Townsville Bulletin, Ms Kyle was said to have expressed concerns about the heavy-handedness of the government’s push for an alcohol management plan.

“It’s patronising. One of the stipulations is that there be low and mid-strength beer only,” Ms Kyle was quoted as saying.

“We already accepted that there’s no wine or spirits, but not the beer.”

Fellow councillor Maggie Blackley reportedly spoke out against the draft ban.

“I only see it as something that will incarcerate Aboriginal people,” Ms Blackely said, according to the Townsville Bulletin.

“There are people who break the laws because the laws are ridiculous. They won’t be able to pay the fines and will go to gaol.”

Ms Kyle’s statement asked that islanders respond to the council’s stance within five days.

Queensland’s indigenous affairs minister, Liddy Clark, said the government had been consulting with residents about the plan for more than a year, according to the Courier Mail.

Palm Island is the last of 19 indigenous communities in Queensland to pass an alcohol management plan.

Ms Clark said plans had shown a positive impact in some communities, with hospital statistics showing a 48 percent drop in assaults in some instances, the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Following the findings and recommendations of the 2001 Cape York Justice Study, conducted by Justice Tony Fitzgerald, the Queensland government has committed itself to curbing the excessive levels of alcohol-related crimes occurring in indigenous communities.

Aurukun, on the western tip of Cape York, was the first to put controls in place in December 2002.

Seventeen other communities have since followed suit, with each community specifying its own level of restrictions in consultation with government officials.

The death of an Aboriginal man, while in police custody on Palm Island late last year, ignited tensions on the island.

Rioting erupted a week later on November 26, and renewed efforts have been made to see alcohol bans adopted.

It is feared that debate over the draft plan could stir up more trouble.

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