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 courts and the prisons. Thirdly, while he talks of being able to identify clearly the problems with excessive alcohol consumption, he also states that it is difficult to get governments and agencies to attempt to overcome aspects of the problem. The introduction of this initiative today by a responsible government will address problems of social disorder in our communities. Moreover, this initiative is to be fully funded at no cost to the taxpayer. Administered at the local level by councils, it will intervene in the cycle of alcohol abuse before it becomes destructive and causes greater cost to the community. Some members opposite have shown a reluctance for local government to be involved with this initiative. Many of them have stated that there is no role for councils in this at all. I remind members that the mandate of local government is defined usually as something like the good order and the good government of the community at the local level. Unsocial behaviour in communities is a problem that can be dealt with at the local level. I am sure that the mayors and the councillors of the major regional municipal councils in the Northern Territory will say that theirs are the appropriate bodies to assist in addressing this problem. Through this fully-funded program, councils will be resourced at the outset. Given that this is a new and innovative program, it can be moulded in the future to suit the unique circumstances faced by councils in each centre. The program is another component in a global approach to excessive alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory. I commend the minister and the staff of the Living With Alcohol Unit for their great work, and the progress in reducing alcohol abuse that they have achieved. I commend the minister for the new approach that he has announced today. Mr BAILEY (Wanguri): Mr Speaker, it has been interesting to listen to members opposite saying that this is part of the Living With Alcohol strategy. Overall, members on this side have been very supportive of the Living With Alcohol strategy. It was the member for MacDonnell who pushed initially for the establishment of the Sessional Committee on Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the Community which led to the government initiating the Living With Alcohol strategy. Largely, that strategy has been to try to deal with the problems of alcohol consumption and its effects on the community. Doing that involves quite a difficult process. It requires the treatment of the underlying, root causes of alcohol abuse within a community. We have seen that the government has had to deal with issues related to it, such as domestic violence. Advertising campaigns have been used to try to make it quite clear to people that the type of behaviour that may have been accepted within some community groups over the years has to change. People getting drunk and becoming aggressive or driving when drunk is totally unacceptable. However, it is a long, slow and hard process to overcome some of these stereotypic attitudes. There is another problem, and it has been around for a long time. It relates to drinking in public areas. I must say that that issue is one of social perception rather than of dealing with an alcohol problem. In other words, the concern is that the people are drinking in public, not that they have an alcohol problem. The issue that we are dealing with here is that there is a social problem and that the public perception of what is occurring needs to be dealt with. I regularly receive calls at my electorate office about this issue. These calls relate to complaints in relation to areas where groups of people have gathered and are drinking. We ring the 3270