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.
Thus the testimony of Senior Police Sargeant Peter Morrison, Magistrate Denis Barritt, nursing sisters Oona Lynch, Wendy Tudor, Pitjantjatjara Council Chairman Ted Porter and a host of other witnesses was discounted. No account was taken of the overwhelming evidence about changes for the worse in communities after Curtin Springs commenced take away sales. On the issue of "community", the Commission's decision seemed contradictory. While the Commission said it "generally accepted" the objectors' representations that "the community" should include Pitjantjatjara communities spread over a wide area, Rae noted that: we must equally take into account the distances involved and the probability or possibility of the portion of those people who would reasonably be expected to visit the outlet concerned. "In doing so," Rae continued, it was important that the Commission also look at the needs of "the other part of the community, the travelling public, who visit a main road roadhouse on the way to a National Park..." But while the Commission seemed doubtful that many Aboriginal people in far-flung Pitjantjatjara communities would visit Curtin Springs often enough to truly be defined as the "community" with an interest in operations there, the Commissioners apparently were convinced that if takeaway sales at Curtin Springs were stopped, these drinkers would not hesitate to travel several hundred kilometres further to Alice Springs. Rae wrote: We do know of people from the Docker River community travelling the 1,500 km round trip to Alice Springs to obtain liquor and to have a "holiday"...We have heard instances in similar vein during this hearing and we wonder whether the wishes of Aboriginals and their ability to take time off whenever they wish, and the transport available to them from whatever community they would be in, is a factor which is not being fully taken into account by persons charged with their education. Rae noted that alcohol also was freely available at Coober Pedy, many hundreds of kilometres away in South Australia, and suggested that alcohol problems at Imanpa might be assuaged considerably if the community's own roadhouse ceased its limited takeaway sales of beer. On balance, the Commission did not think it would be fair to impose on the Curtin Springs licence the conditions sought by 63