Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995
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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 In the longer term, and as part of an holistic approach which confronts a range of matters, including housing, employment and health, I believe many of the problems associated with antisocial behaviour will be overcome. The Office of Aboriginal Development has been instrumental in developing a multi-agency approach to law and justice issues in the Northern Territory. Regional justice advisory committees will be established in major regional centres to ensure the coordination of support of those agencies with responsibilities for law and order, correctional services and local government. These committees will be responsible also for the coordination, support and implementation of community justice systems, including night patrols and community warden schemes. Our idea is to provide a full-time resource to this program, supported by the resources existing in each regional office. In Alice Springs, the Alice Springs Social Order Working Group has been established, and will be working in a coordinated fashion to address specific problems in that town. The Living With Alcohol program has been successful in carrying out its original aim of reducing the quantity of alcohol consumed. However, the program has the potential to address a whole range of alcohol-related social behavioural problems which occur throughout the Northern Territory. Indeed, there is some tangible evidence that this has occurred already, but we must continue to ensure that these positive initiatives are part of an overall strategy to improve the quality of life of all Territorians. As I mentioned in my statement yesterday, housing is an issue that the Commonwealth and Territory governments will have to address. In the longer term, as Minister for Aboriginal Development, I will be encouraging the development of regional-type agreements with traditional Aboriginal groups, such as the Larrakia in Darwin. Out of such discussions may come visitor protocol arrangements. Groups visiting other peoples traditional land will be encouraged to recognise this fact and to behave in a responsible manner. All of that is positive and focused as part of a holistic approach. However, what do you do when people do not give a damn and will continue to drink alcohol to excess, fight and abuse one another, fornicate in public and leave litter everywhere? At the end of the day, in that situation, a stick is needed as well. That is the bottom line with all these positive programs, and it requires some financial support. I do not wish to detract from the enormous effort by the Territory Anti-Litter Committee (TALC) and Keep Australia Beautiful Council (KAB) in addressing the litter problem. However, as the minister indicated in his statement, no one group can overcome that problem on its own. Everybody has been looking at it, and everyone is having trouble. They need to work together. The police are trying and are becoming frustrated. Aboriginal organisations, like Tangentyere and Julalikari Councils, are doing things but, in Alice Springs, Tangentyere says that it keeps tripping up. The Arremte Council wants to do something about it, but it is abused by the drunks themselves. Alice Springs Town Council wants to deal with the litter problems and try to police local government laws by itself, but that is not working. How do we bring these things together? This proposal is basically a budget initiative. That is the stage it is at. There is much work yet to be done, and the ministers statement clearly outlines an array of issues that have yet to be addressed. There must be consultation to extend what the minister has been doing already, to involve groups in it and to develop the practical features of the program. That is inevitable. Turning a blind eye to a problem is never a successful approach. The community is becoming frustrated and goodwill is fading. We need to take that into account. I am not talking only about the white community. Aboriginal people in the urban areas are becoming frustrated, embarrassed and angry about the way in which their lives are being disrupted by these events as well. 3252
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