Submission Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community 051 Pitjantjatjara Council Inc
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.
As it had in 1984, the Council again asked the Commission to change the licence conditions at Curtin Springs Roadhouse to prohibit sales of takeaway alcohol to persons resident in or travelling through or to Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra lands and communities. The definition of "community Under Section 32 of the N.T. Liquor Act, the Liquor Commission is required to take into consideration a number of factors in licensing matters. Among these are "the needs and wishes of the community". It was on this basis that the Pitjantjatjara Council focussed its objection: unrestricted sales of takeaway alcohol from Curtin Springs stood in absolute opposition to the repeatedly expressed wishes of the majority of the permanent resident community, which consisted largely of Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra people. On the issue of community "needs", the Council would argue that not only did the Aboriginal community not require these sales possession and consumption of alcohol was illegal in all but one community, after all they in fact destroyed community peace and good order, injured and destroyed lives and undermined all attempts at community development. The definition of "the community" in remote areas in which individual settlements and communities were so widely spread apart had in the past posed some difficulty for the Liquor Commission and, to a lesser extent, the courts. However, the issue had been quite forcefully addressed by the N.T. Supreme Court in a ruling by Justice Muirhead in a case involving the Ernest Giles Tavern at Yulara. In the Yulara case, which involved an objection by Pitjantjatjara Council on behalf of clients that were virtually identical to those in the Curtin Springs case, Muirhead wrote this about the definition of "the community": I incline to the view that it does include tourists or the body of tourists whose needs, whilst temporary, may nevertheless be real...But in my view it includes also the Aboriginal people including those who whilst living in conventional terms long distances from Ayers Rock are likely to visit the area and indeed who may unhappily be attracted to Yulara by the availability of takeaway liquor. They are, as I have said, a mobile people. 50
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