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Public drunkenness decriminalised ahead of Tanya Day inquest

tanya day human rights law centre death in custody

The state government has announced public drunkenness will be decriminalised in Victoria.

It comes as the inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in 2017 after she was removed from a Bendigo train travelling to Melbourne, and was taken into custody for being drunk in public.

Attorney-General Jill Hennessy will write to Coroner Caitlin English in relation to the inquest advising that the government will comit in principle of decriminalisation public drunkenness, after it was indicated she would recommend the law be scrapped in her final report into Ms Day's death.

“Public drunkenness requires a public health response, not a criminal justice one, and now is the right time to take this important reform forward," said Ms Hennessy.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Gavin Jennings, says it is the right move to make following the tireless campaigning of Ms Day's death.

“Since Tanya Day’s death in 2017, her family has been committed to law reform and better support services. The courage and determination they have shown to prevent other families from experiencing their pain has been remarkable and truly inspiring.”

The move will mean Queensland is now the only state in Australia where public drunkenness is a criminal offence.

Image via Human Rights Law Centre.