24 Feb 2015

Australian Senator stands by moves to ban kava

4:14 pm on 24 February 2015

A senator in Australia's Northern Territory says while he accepts people from the outside want to practice their culture in Australia, it should not harm indigenous Australians.

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Photo: RNZ

Nigel Scullion's statement comes after Pacific Islanders in Australia expressed frustration at the push for a ban on kava.

An existing limit of two kilogrammes of kava which can be brought into the country may be abolished.

Detective superintendent Tony Fuller, from the Northern Territory's Drug and Organised Crime Division, says kava dealers are inflating prices and exploiting vulnerable indigenous communities.

A church minister in the Northern Territory, 'Aisea Moala, says kava has important ceremonial value in Pacific culture and a ban would penalise the entire Pacific community.

But Mr Scullion says the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is his priority.