Territory Stories

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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Following this meeting, lawyers for Pitjantjatjara Council contacted the Liquor Commission's Southern Regional office in Alice Springs, first by telephone and then by letter, to inform officials about the problems caused by the resumption of takeaway alcohol sales from Curtin Springs and the concerns of the Aboriginal communities in the area. The Council's lawyers reminded the Commission of the informal arrangement that had previously existed with licensee Peter Severin. The Commission responded that there were no restrictions on the roadhouse licence and that Severin was operating within his rights. To refresh the Commission's memory, the Council forwarded copies of correspondence from former Chairman R. Coutts, in which he recognised the existence of the "informal arrangements". In 1984, the Council had objected to the renewal of the Curtin Springs takeaway licence in an attempt to obtain a variation to roadhouse licence conditions prohibiting takeaway sales to residents of and people travelling to or through Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra lands and communities. Coutts declined to do this or to encourage a more formal agreement noted on the licence, as was done at Yulara, because the informal arrangements were working well at Curtin Springs. In a letter dated 31st January 1985, Coutts wrote: The Commission is of the opinion that these arrangements are more likely to succeed than Commission-imposed legal restrictions. Of course the legal restrictions are available if local informal relations break down. When these communications with the Commission yielded no positive results, the Council on 20th May 1988, lodged a formal complaint against Severin. In the letter to the Commission, two grounds for complaint were cited: Severin had not complied with the "informal arrangements" and that "all reasonable efforts to persuade the licensee to resume compliance [had] failed"; and "The sale of 'takeaway' liquor to residents of the relevant Aboriginal Communities has resulted on a frequent and regular basis in violent assaults and other social disruption...particularly [at] the Mutitjulu Community, and in injuries and fear of injuries and possible death..." 48

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