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




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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 3876 1986, when they just allocated some areas as dry. Her response to having particular areas dry was: It will not work. She has had it since 1986. In November of 2005, the Port Augusta City Council applied to the South Australian Liquor Commission to have Port Augusta declared dry for a 12-month trial run. I spoke to Mayor Joy Baluch and members of council in September last year, and they were very pleased with the difference that it had made to Port Augusta. It was a decision that was not popular in a lot of areas, including some aldermen on her own council. She felt so strongly about it that she said they were going to make this decision and trial it. It has been very successful as far as they are concerned. All the statistical data will not be released until the end of March. They are having proper research done to see if it is working well and that they have not moved problems into private homes over the hill and that the police are happy. I am very impressed with the stand she has taken. The council has applied to extend their licence for the dry area for another 12 months. I have not spoken to the Chamber of Commerce in Port Augusta, but I know that Katherine Town Council is having communication with the Chamber of Commerce to ensure that business and everyone is happy with it. My experience from visiting Port Augusta, and walking the streets very early in the morning and getting the feel of a place, it is the best that I have ever seen it. It was a pleasure to walk the streets. I did not feel alarmed, I did not see any litter, or have violent, yelling or fighting people lying around. I saw a lot of indigenous people. They were just going about their daily business of going to the shop, buying their food, etcetera. I did see some come out of a hotel who got into a cab and disappeared to wherever; I do not know where. There was no one drinking on the foreshore or anywhere in Port Augusta. I have also spoken to a relative of mine who has a newsagency in Port Augusta and she said it has made a huge difference. One of the challenges there, and it has been put to me is: Okay, you have moved it. Where have you moved it to and is it just aesthetics you are after? The answer is no, it is not just aesthetics. That is only one part of it. The other part is that we have to have programs in place to deal with all of the issues and, as you know, there are about that many, that go with the alcohol problem. In Katherine, we have a sobering-up shelter. On Saturdays mornings, over the last two weeks I have been listening to ABC radio with the walkman in the ear at about 5.30 am. It was alarming to hear that the 30 beds in the sobering-up shelter were full the night before, and more than that number were in police protective custody in the gaol. The police are so busy, they have plenty of other things they need to be doing. I do not consider the police primary role is to be taking care of drunks in a gaol; they have other things that are important they need to be doing. That is over 60 in Katherine alone. For me, I see the answer, and this is where I am saying you need funding from the federal government as well to deal with this. We need decent sobering-up shelters in each community. We need detox centres to take care of habitual drunks, and you need rehabilitation centres. On the subject of rehabilitation centres, the one that we have at the Venn Block is not at full capacity and it could be. My information is that the reason it is not at full capacity is because there is not enough trained people there, so that may be another issue for government. I will follow it up when I get back to Katherine, but that is the information I have been given. On the subject of rehabilitation, I have listened to other members talk about how it is important to have state-of-the-art rehabilitation and, of course, it is. However, not everyone is going to look for state-of-the-art. They need the programs that work well for them. I support what the member for Nelson said regarding Dillinya because that has worked very well for quite a few people. It has been a success. I encourage the minister to have a look at it. I know that Sheila Millar would be only too happy to show you what happens there and how she works her program. She is a trained counsellor and has had a lot of success. It is people such as Sheila who want to help, and yet they are not being given the financial support to do so. I want to talk about support of sponsorship of sporting events if they are alcohol free. Two years ago, the AFL in Katherine, because we had such a disaster of football matches with drunks yelling and yahooing and people get very excited when they are supporting their football team. However, the problem was that most times there was alcohol involved, and it was not a nice conducive atmosphere for families. The Katherine AFL decided to ban alcohol and have no alcohol for sale at all. You were not allowed to bring alcohol into the area, so it was alcohol free. I can assure you that it was just absolutely fantastic to go along and watch the games. Most of the teams that play in Katherine come from outlying communities and, by gee, can they play football! I love AFL. I am not into the others very much, but AFL, I am. It was an absolute pleasure for families to be able to run around and play and not have drunks falling over them, or them falling over drunks. The atmosphere was fantastic.