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 town councils to implement these initiatives? The government is not asking them to do it without its full support. I believe the first response of the councils would be that they would be happy to be involved but that they cannot afford it. However, they will receive assistance with the necessary by-laws. They will be given the resources to employ the staff. The training needed by their officers will be provided. Alice Springs Town Council has always had a very good relationship with Tangentyere Council and, with them working together, I am sure this program will have a good chance of success. Certainly, I urge the council to be involved. The residents of the town often say that nothing is being done, but at least in this way they will see that something is happening. I can give a good example of the effect that this antisocial behaviour can have on our residents. We have a small preschool called Teppa Hills which is situated behind the Heame Place shopping complex. Next to the preschool is a small park. The preschool has operated there for 20-plus years but, last year, its school council had to erect an 8 ft colourbond fence between the preschool and the park as a consequence of the activities of the drinking groups in that park who had no respect for the 4-year-olds or the teachers. Their behaviour deteriorated to the extent that parents and teachers alike objected to exposing the 4-year-old children to their drunken and uncontrolled behaviour. No matter how many times the police were called in - and I assure members that every cooperation was given by the police and the school-based constable - there was little they could do to break the cycle of public drunkenness that persisted in the park. I am quite sure that, if this program had been in place at that time, that problem would have been addressed and perhaps corrected because this program involves people moving in before the drunkenness occurs. As the minister says, the program aims at breaking the day-to-day cycle of binge drinking and unacceptable behaviour that many groups are trapped in. Frankly, I do not think these groups want to be trapped in this cycle, but they really are at the stage where they need help to break out of it. Feedback from our constituents indicates that law and order probably is considered to be the most important issue in the Territory. I believe this program will be welcomed by the general public who have been subjected to this irresponsible behaviour for so long. I note the minister acknowledges that Aboriginal people must be involved in its implementation and that they will play an important part in its success. Geoff Shaw has expressed publicly his concern and the concern of the Four Comers Council. A newspaper item was headlined Alice push to ban grog on Sundays. It stated: A prominent Aboriginal leader has called for a ban on alcohol sales in the town on Sundays. Tangentyere Council General Manager, Geoff Shaw, said hotels and pubs should be shut. He went on to say: Certainly, one of our biggest problems is the binge drinking around the takeaway outlets. Breaking that cycle for one day and getting people to do something else might be just enough for some people. I guess that is what we are saying. If we can break that cycle of binge drinking, we may be able to get somewhere. I note the minister has spoken only to mayors and town clerks at this stage to outline the program. Councils still need to discuss the proposal and decide whether or not they will participate. I urge Alice Springs Town Council to agree to take carriage of this initiative as a step in addressing the antisocial behaviour in the town. I am quite sure the residents will be supportive and see that at last something must be done. I commend the minister for this initiative and I urge all councils in the Territory to become involved and adopt this program. 3257