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 3871 these by-laws do so sensibly and this will continue. We will still be able to enjoy our great Territory lifestyle. Mr Deputy Speaker, the proposal is aimed at disrupting the supply and addressing harm minimisation, rehabilitation and treatment. I commend the minister for his statement. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Mr Deputy Speaker, I congratulate the minister on this important statement. It covers many of the areas that we have spoken about before. I do not think we need go over too much old ground about the effects of alcohol in our community, especially in some of our indigenous communities. I note that on ABC Online on 12 February, last Monday, there was an interview with a lady from the National Drug Research Institute which studied every alcohol-related Aboriginal death between 2000 and 2004. From that, it was shown that alcohol causes the death of an indigenous Australian every 38 hours. If you go through this interview, there are some fairly telling statistics about suicide amongst indigenous women. It is the fourth largest killer of indigenous women, but the biggest killer is alcohol liver cirrhosis, and the second biggest killer, which is not too far behind, is haemorrhagic stroke. She said that is quite remarkable: haemorrhagic stroke is really by and large a disease of middle-aged and the elderly, and we are finding that haemorrhagic stroke is killing indigenous women at an average age of 25. Haemorrhagic stroke does not even figure among young women of that age in the general population. That adds another to the sad statistics about the effects of alcohol. Minister, you covered a range of issues in your statement today. You talked about alcohol strategy plans, review of the Liquor Act, dry areas and liquor records. I feel what you are looking at is attacking the problem and not looking at the symptoms. These problems are not new. Many times I have and spoken about alcohol, as would other members. I have been speaking about alcohol for the last 37 years in the Northern Territory, so we have not come across these things in the last year. What I really want to know is what the government is doing to change the culture of excessive drinking in the Northern Territory. That is what I would like to have seen in this statement. The only reference you made to that is in the last paragraph. You said: We still have a long way to go because the culture of big drinking is a strong one. That is exactly right and that culture is not just about indigenous people; it is about the whole community. That is where the government is failing. We have put a lot of effort to working on strategies, which are mainly aimed at indigenous people, yet many of our alcohol problems are related to non-indigenous people. I picked up a copy of the National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2009, which came out of the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy in May of last year. It made a lot of recommendations and showed a lot of statistics, which would have, of itself, been a good basis for discussion today: The goal of the Strategy is to prevent and minimise alcohol-related harm to individuals, families and communities in the context of developing safer and healthy drinking cultures in Australia. To achieve this goal, the Strategy has four aims: 1. Reduce the incidence of intoxication among drinkers. 2. Enhance public safety and amenity at times and in places where alcohol is consumed. 3. Improve health outcomes among all individuals and communities affected by alcohol consumption. 4. Facilitate safer and healthier drinking cultures by developing community understanding about the special properties of alcohol and through regulation of its availability. It says further: In light of the evidence of alcohol-related harm in the general community and within specific sub-populations, both universal approaches to reduce overall consumption and strategies targeted to reduce harm are needed in Australia. I imagine the Northern Territory was on this Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy. It would have been good to have comments back from the minister as to where he thinks the Northern Territory sits in relation to these strategies. The second matter the minister should have addressed is the Alcohol Framework. I have not heard much about the Alcohol Framework for quite a while but, as you know, there are 62 recommendations and I believe the government endorsed all bar one. Today would have been a perfect opportunity for the minister to have gone through those recommendations and tell us how many of them have been put in to place.