Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 It behoves us all to talk to our constituents about how they see this initiative evolving. I do not believe the community will find it acceptable to have de facto policemen on their streets. The community believes that what is needed is more uniformed police on the beat, preventing the problems before they start by providing a police presence in the community. I believe that is the better way to go. Dr LIM (Greatorex): Madam Deputy Speaker, I also rise to speak to the statement by the Minister for Health and Community Services on measures to address antisocial behaviour in urban areas. We should pay particular attention to what the member for Barkly has just said in respect of talking to our constituents to find out what they want. Let me tell you what they want in Tennant Creek. I visit Tennant Creek regularly, probably more regularly than the member for Barkly. People there want some control. Mrs Hickey: Thank you very much! I will come up to Greatorex for you. Dr LIM: If you do not do your job, I will do it for you, madam. It is time that we looked at this problem. We heard from the minister the magnitude of the cost of alcohol abuse in this sparsely-populated Northern Territory of ours with its approximately 185 000 people. $150m is what it costs our community annually. That amounts to approximately $800 per person per year. Professionals working in any field associated with alcohol abuse will say that the problems are widespread throughout the community. There is no doubt that there is as much hidden as there is visible alcohol abuse. The Living With Alcohol program, funded through a levy on liquor sales, has made great inroads on the problems. The minister gave us some figures earlier. I shall not labour them any further. It is sufficient if I repeat that the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia rated the Northern Territory first in dealing with alcohol addiction. In reducing problems associated with alcohol abuse, there remains a very significant and visible element of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour. Whatever the cause - and now is not the time to debate that issue - the result is readily witnessed in all our major centres. To see those results, one need only visit the emergency and radiology departments of any public hospital. Outside supermarkets which sell alcohol, and the bottle departments of hotels, this behaviour is repeated every day. Without wishing to be labelled racist, I must say that the most visible alcohol abuse is among Aboriginal people attracted to urban centres. I hasten to add that most of the Aboriginals we see in this context are not those resident in the urban areas, but are usually people from the various remote communities that have imposed strictly dry rules. These transients come to the urban centres for various reasons, including to see medical practitioners for much-needed care. Unfortunately they end up in public places, intoxicated and committing all the forms of antisocial behaviour that we heard listed by various speakers earlier. The invasion by these people, and their very visible behaviour, antagonise the local citizenry, both black and white. Believe me when I say that urban Aboriginals are as frustrated with this form of alcohol abuse as is everyone else. Honourable members may recall my speech at the last sittings when I spoke about my experience with the Tangentyere Night Patrol. I described the frustration that night patrol 3261