Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 Unit and the police. It has had experience already with community field work and community organisations such as CAAAPU and others that deal directly with substance and alcohol abuse. I guess those bodies would place their faith and trust in the ability of the committee to ensure that their views are heard and considered on a bipartisan basis. I am pleased to note that the chairman of the committee is here and I hope he will comment on this suggestion. The committee has a wealth of experience in terms of the information that it has collated. As the minister has said, part of the antisocial behaviour caused by alcohol abuse could be tackled through consultation by this committee. That process would give the community time to examine the problem in a better way than simply having it flagged by the minister, as has happened today. The ministers approach will create many problems. People may not understand why the minister is introducing these measures, why this announcement has been made and why he is trying to implement this kind of government initiative. I appreciate what the minister is talking about. I have seen the problems in Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Darwin. I am aware of the difficulties that the member for Casuarina has in his electorate with itinerant drunks, and the difficulties that shoppers and tourists experience in shopping centres and malls throughout the Territory. I know it is difficult, but the fact is that liquor outlets are located in close proximity to major stores such as Woolworths and K-Mart. All those places are located deliberately in areas where people are able to obtain money and spend it to feed their habits. This does not help to protect people from developing a liking for these things. I know that, after school, students from Dripstone High School or St Johns College, go to K-Mart to do some shopping. They may hang around with their friends or even visit the shop down the road, next to the honourable member for Casuarinas electorate office. I am aware that numbers of drunks hang around the place. I am very much aware of what the minister wishes to accomplish. However, taking the initiative away from the Sessional Committee on Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community and placing it directly on the shoulders of local government councils is unacceptable to me. 1 do not think it would be acceptable to the general public. We have a committee that is directly responsible for examining the use and abuse of alcohol in the Territory community. The initiative announced by the Minister for Health and Community Services is one that would be taken up by the committee, and I recommend that it does that. It has the experience and has travelled far and wide. It has given the government some very good advice on the alcohol industry in the Northern Territory. The other aspect that concerns me about this initiative is that we may be creating a form of second-class police in the Northern Territory to deal directly with itinerants, drunks and people with bad habits. Mrs Padgham-Purich: That is right. Mr LANHUPUY: Are we going to set up a entire unit and direct funds to it? Will we have a minister responsible for that group, which is targeted specifically at bad social behaviour throughout the Northern Territory? The term social behaviour has a wide range of interpretations. I pity the poor officers who would be obliged to look at those difficulties on a daily basis. Apart from anything else, it would be a nightmare administratively. The cost of such an organisation to the taxpayers of the Northern Territory would be horrendous. The 3239