Territory Stories

SCUAAC Briefing 9 February 1994 Mr Steve Gelding District Manager representing the Department of Health and Community Services



SCUAAC Briefing 9 February 1994 Mr Steve Gelding District Manager representing the Department of Health and Community Services

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Tabled Paper 345


Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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ALCOHOL ABUSE COMMITTEE - Wednesday 9 February 1994 KATHERINE MEETING that system was a better one than the Northern Territory system which he saw as more interventionist. However, he also qualified his comment by saying that, in some cases, he thought the WA government should become more involved and supervise it a bit more closely. Mr GELDING: It is all a matter of judgment too. We let Wurli Wurlinjang, which we fund to the tune of nearly $400 000, basically get on with their job and we have a good interaction that way. There is no way that I am telling them what to do, but I am also confident that they are not squandering public funds. Mr POOLE: I guess the key is that, if you think the program is going all right, you leave it alone. Mr MCCARTHY: With Wurli Wurlinjang, you are talking more in the nature of a general health service. Mr GELDING: Yes. It is a general health service sure. The difficulty here is I believe that, if we let KADA have its head and run off, we would have a very expensive AA system. Mr BELL: What was the name of the program you mentioned where KADA publicly disagreed with you - the alcohol in moderation program? Mr GELDING: It was something about having a drink ... Mr ORTMANN: It was about responsible drinking at Christmas time rather than bintje drinking. The rest of the country was advocating total abstinence. Mr GELDING: I want to qualify what I said. It was not KADA but the president of KADA in a different capacity. However, it was the president. Mr POOLE: But that is because of the difference in the philosophy - that it is not a matter of sensible drinking because the only form of sensible drinking is no drinking. Mr GELDING: KADA cannot support any program which is suggesting sensible drinking. Mr BELL: I should point out that you are not Robinson Crusoe in Katherine. In fact, that was the note that I made that I wanted to take away from the meeting. You can go to any bush community or Alice Springs and find the debate between the abstainers and the controlled drinkers. You could even go to the Legislative Assembly and find it - probably that is a bit of an exaggeration - but it is an important debate. The way I rationalise that is by saying that it is different strokes for different folks. I believe that, for traditionally-oriented Aboriginals - hang on, I won't put it quite that strongly - I would take a lot of convincing that 7

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