SCUAAC Briefing 9 February 1994 Mr Steve Gelding District Manager representing the Department of Health and Community Services
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ALCOHOL ABUSE COMMITTEE - Wednesday 9 February 1994 KATHERINE MEETING hand up and say, ' I was greatly helped by such and such and I am now off the grog' or 'I resolved some family issue or crisis' or 'I found employment' or whatever. It is very hard for us as a department to evaluate the effectiveness of it. The sobering-up shelter may have taken x thousand people into protective custody each year. On very ballpark figures, let's say 4500 admissions or about 1500 people. There is multiple use of it. Mr BELL: 400? Mr GELDING: 4500. Mr BELL: 4500 admissions. Mr GELDING: Actual admissions. Mr BELL: Comprising? Mr GELDING: About one and a bit thousand. I do not have the exact figures, but I could get them if you want them. Some people have been there a hundred times. I am sure you have probably heard of those. Mr POOLE: It is pretty common in Tennant Creek and Alice Springs and probably Darwin too. Mr GELDING: We can say that that is effectively taking those who are drunk off the main street until it is full. We have recently discussed with the KADA committee president about how they actually work the hours. We are very flexible in our funding arrangements. We do not tell them when to be open or when not to be open. They need to look again at the times they are open. Mr POOLE: They claim they should be open 7 days and cannot afford to be. Mr GELDING: I do not believe there is the evidence to actually support that. There are times when there is no one there at all. I think they need to be flexible so that, during periods of great celebration etc in town, they have the capacity to be open or the capacity to take in more clients. I think they need to have that flexibility. Mr POOLE: I understand they are closed every Sunday. I imagine there are still drunks around on Sunday who probably would be there if they were open. Mr GELDING: Absolutely, but that is something that the management committee has to work out. We are not telling them that, as part of the service agreement, they will provide a 24-hour shelter or from Monday to Friday or whatever it may be. I am informed - and I have not checked with the police on 3