Ministerial Statement Inhalant Substance Abuse
Tabled Paper 493
Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Denis Burke
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
3 An inter-agency committee established by this Government in 1996 found that programs or strategies that had some relevance to the prevention of petrol sniffing were the responsibility of THS, Sport and Recreation, Education, Police, Correctional Services, Aboriginal Development, Chief Ministers through the Office of Youth Affairs, Attorney-Generals and Housing and Local Government. ATSIC, the Local Government Association and the Commonwealth departments of Health and Family Services and Education, Employment and Training were also involved as well as a number of non-government agencies. That has been one of the biggest problems - or failures - with this issue: the fragmented approach by so many agencies. The other, as I mentioned before, has been the cyclical nature of the abuse. When there has been an outbreak of petrol sniffing, agencies and communities have sought to combat it - sometimes effecting a result almost overnight with the removal of ring-leaders or chronic abusers to some treatment centre or outstation. However we have found that something that may work in one situation may not be so successful in another community. But with the immediate problem solved, the concerted response, however successful, has been allowed to lapse until the next outbreak. The Government intends to change this. We will continue the successful strategies; we will look at all the programs; we will tap all the funding sources; we will pursue innovative suggestions. Let me outline what we are already doing through my department. In Central Australia, there are several processes used by THS to manage juveniles with substance misuse problems, these are: Firstly arranging placements at designated outstations which provide respite and rehabilitation. At Injartnama Outstation, THS funds a worker and helps finance a community based petrol sniffing program at a cost of $45 000 per year. At Mt Theo near Yuendumu, THS has provided $85,000 through the Winecask Levy. Mt Theo recently received $300,000 from the Commonwealth to continue its work. The program offers young people a healthy respite from petrol as well as rehabilitative activities. The Yuendumu community is supportive of the program which has proven a positive alternative to prison. THS provides nursing/medical services to both Injartnama and Mt Theo. THS also provides funding through DASA to Waltja to support community based activities to combat sniffing.
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