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Submission Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community 051 Pitjantjatjara Council Inc



Submission Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community 051 Pitjantjatjara Council Inc

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Tabled Paper 271


Tabled Papers for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Eric Poole


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.




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With help from other Pitjantjatjara communities, Imanpa also installed its own public power system to operate house lighting, streetlights, store refrigerators, the lot. It operated its own system until 1985, when the N.T. Government took over the job. Until 1988, all of the houses and principal community buildings at Imanpa were built by the community as well. The ethos of self-help and self-funding projects developed into a contract system. The community began to compete on the open market for major building and water reticulation projects. Contracts were guaranteed to be done on time and within budget. Strict rules were enforced: hard word for good pay went with penalties for drunkenness and damage to equipment. Contract work was the best way to purchase a car, but it was not available to those who did not conform to community rules. Rules relating to alcohol and drinking behaviour proliferated. Relations with the police, which were vital to the success of any attempts at community control, improved. Previously, Imanpa had been the "last chance" community. If the police were called for a disturbance or an violent incident, they usually found no one willing to press charges; offenders always got "one last chance" and there was no end to those. Police left frustrated and were not disposed to be helpful. As part of improving relations with police, the community agreed to press charges in those instances of injury or damage where police were called. In cases of damage to property, not only were offenders fined to pay for repairs, the Imanpa Community Council decided that extended families would be held responsible for the depredations of their members. Their increasing control over alcohol gave the community hope for the future. And in 1987, Imanpa gained control over the most important element in the community's alcohol problems: the Mt. Ebenezer Roadhouse. The community's purchase of the roadhouse was part of an overall strategy to gain land and a secure economic base and to combat Imanpa's serious alcohol problems by controlling its chief source of supply. Imanpa wanted to buy the Mt. Ebenezer cattle station. To do that, they would need money, and the roadhouse was the best way they knew to earn it. The roadhouse also would provide important (if limited) employment opportunities for community members. The purchase of the roadhouse was special, too, because the community did it through a bank loan, which was subject to all 38