Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

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Parliamentary Record 12


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




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 14 February 2007 3866 Tiwi Islands received for the first time a thesis or a research project done by one of their own, looking at the emerging trends of what is happening and to finally get inside the minds of 14-and 15-year-olds. Her cohort even included young children who wanted to participate, and she had to get parental consent for that - some of the parents did consent, some said no. In mainstream, they would not be allowed to drink because they are under age. One of the areas that needs to be looked at - and I implore the minister to have his department look at it - is the level of home brewing. Because it is not illegal, you can buy the equipment for home brewing from Woollies and Coles and other department stores. I am not sure if they become illegal when the actual liquor is made, but in some of my communities, home brew is becoming a major problem. Maningrida has been fantastic in alcohol management plans. They do not have a social club but, since the development of the alcohol management plan for Maningrida, the community has turned around. Most of the people getting permits are in paid or full-time employment. If you are not in full-time employment, there are a number of criteria that you have to meet and it goes before a community board. That alcohol management plan is working quite well. It would not have worked without Maningrida Council, the traditional owners, the Kunibidji and the police who have set up a Drug and Alcohol Committee. They meet regularly. They discuss all the permit holders, any problems and, if there have been problems, those peoples permits are revoked. I have heard it time and again from different people and government agencies that Gunbalanya has probably one of the best run pubs in the Northern Territory. That may be, but there is an impact. As the local member, I have camped there not just for one day, but three or four days. I have seen the impact and what happens at night. It is the only club in a remote Aboriginal community that is allowed to trade between 12 and 1.30 each day, which needs to be looked at. When you go to that community and meet with the council, everyone starts looking at their watch for 11.50 when they all get up and walk out. It is virtually impossible to have meetings with people after 1.30 pm. It has impacts on the council in that they lose the majority of their workforce; they cannot put people on heavy machinery because they are intoxicated. The minister and I have had discussions about this and he has undertaken to look at that. In Jabiru, there are moves afoot to look at the issues with alcohol. The Gunbang Action Group out at Jabiru will take in parts of Gunbalanya and its outstations and the outstations around Jabiru. That is in its early days, but I know that RGLs policy officers are working with the community to see how they can implement an effective alcohol management plan for Jabiru and its region. Ms LAWRIE: Mr Deputy Speaker, I move that the minister be granted an extension of time to allow her to conclude her remarks, pursuant to Standing Order 77. Motion agreed to. Mr Stirling: Youll talk for an hour now. Ms SCRYMGOUR: On this I probably could. The development of an alcohol management plan for Jabiru and the region, which I wholeheartedly support, will take in and look at the Bark Hut Inn, and Mary River. For the first time, we may be able to address the problem in the wider region because, when people leave Gunbalanya or Jabiru, it is quite convenient to drive down the road to load their cars up with cartons of grog. That is something that has to be taken into consideration. They are looking at the issue for that region, which is good. They are not just looking at Jabiru in isolation from the wider problem in the region. Alcohol management plans have been quite effective in some of the communities. The ones I have mentioned have worked, but they can only work with the support of the community. The communities have to get behind them. The leaders in those communities certainly have to support them. Alcohol is an ancient human practice, which is found in most cultures and societies. If you put tobacco to one side, which has different properties and social effects, alcohol is one of the main drugs of choice in Australia. When you add cannabis, they are probably the twin drugs of choice in Australia. They are the face of widespread and intractable social problems throughout this country. It has become notoriously evident that the problem is even more extreme, and is consequences more damaging, within our indigenous population. The member for Blain touched on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome on which very little research has been done. This was a huge issue with the first nation people in America when Foetal Alcohol Syndrome rose to prominence. There needs to be more research or funding for the health or the community services sector. We often see and hear about behavioural problems of children in classrooms. When we see it in some of our communities where alcohol abuse is prevalent, people often dismiss it as ADD or hyperactivity, but no one ever looks at whether that child may have FAS.