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




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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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 that some of those Living With Alcohol programs are making gains, and many of the counselling and public education programs are making progress. I remind honourable members that we noted also that, whilst it is critically important that a range of approaches be adopted, it is important to recognise that there will always be people who abuse alcohol, no matter what is done in terms of providing them with advice and assistance to improve their lifestyles and job opportunities or to address some of the underlying causes of their addiction. They will drink too much, they will cause trouble and they will upset other members of the community. It is inevitable that some specific courses of action need to be taken. The government cannot always just adopt what I call the carrot approach of support, assistance, guidance and public education. Sometimes the stick is needed too. Do honourable members remember the debates we had about people who would be banned from being able to purchase alcohol simply because they had been getting drunk too often and turning up in sobering-up shelters too regularly? We have seen the work evolving and developing and it needs to be developed further. The development of the sobering-up shelters, the early intervention programs, the night patrol programs, and the evolution of the community warden schemes are important. However, there will still be people who, no matter how much we try, simply do not care. They are just not interested and, no matter what is tried, they will ignore the interests of anybody else in society. In many ways, this is a very selfish and self-centred abuse of themselves and others. Because they are not necessarily within their own community when they are doing this, they do not care what trouble they cause for people or what mess they leave lying around. The embarrassment and disruption they cause to other people in society does not bother them. Maybe the stick is needed there too. It is without doubt, as I am sure every member would accept, an intractable issue, and it is not just in the Northern Territory. We need to keep looking at ways in which it may be addressed. Some have said that this is a knee-jerk reaction. I do not think that it can be looked at in isolation. It can be looked at only in the context of the array of programs and services provided by large numbers of government and non-government community organisations, all trying to address the same problem but from as many different angles as possible. I could note a few of the programs that are in place in my portfolio area alone. Certainly, since I took over my current portfolio mix, I have been confronted with and concerned about the problem of antisocial behaviour. It is an issue that has been brought to my attention on many occasions across many areas of the Northern Territory. The member for MacDonnell referred to the fact that the Australian Labor Party has been told of problems involving campers and drinkers on the Nightcliff foreshore. I have been the member for Nightcliff for 11 'A years now, and I can assure the House that it is not a new issue for Nightcliff. Every year since I became the local member, at about this time, as the dry season is coming in, a significant number of itinerants decide that somewhere around Rapid Creek bridge or along the Nightcliff foreshore makes a great place to camp overnight. They hang around there and they sleep there, and I receive regular complaints each year about that. This year is no exception. The problem has been emerging, particularly over the last few weeks. I must say that I raised the matter very publicly in 1984, when it first came to my attention. Eventually, the situation was addressed, and those people who really were camping in those areas were relocated to a more appropriate location in Darwin. 3250