Alice Springs news
Alice Springs news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspspers; Australia, Central; Alice Springs (N.T.); Newspapers
v. 7 issue 17
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
drug use."He cites a study by NDRI of drug and alcohol use among young Aboriginal people in Albany, WA. Amongst those over 15, the unemployed were 13 times more likely to be frequent drug users of mostly tobacco, alcohol and cannabis but also of amphetamines and barbiturates than those who were still in school or in some form of training.Dr Gray, who headed the team which conducted the 1998 review of Tennant Creek's alcohol restrictions, says of all the Australian communities that have tried to tackle alcohol problems by restricting availability, Tennant has affected the greatest reduction in consumption, yet its consumption is still twice the national average."They've reduced it by 20 per cent, made a big dent in it, but it hasn't solved the grog problems in Tennant Creek by any means."Dr Gray also warns that while restrictions may have an impact initially, research done in the USA shows that the effect tapers off in the long term, due to a complex of reasons:"The talk of availability and restrictions, even before they are introduced, creates an awareness in the community of the problem and causes some people to re-assess the amount of alcohol they are consuming."It may also cause the police to pay more attention to alcohol-related problems and to increase their policing efforts."Then, as time goes by there's some falling off in those efforts and in people's levels of awareness, and, if nothing else has changed, people tend to go back to previous patterns."When you've got problems of the magnitude that you have in the Territory there needs to be some on-going process to keep the issues before people, keep them on the boil, keep up the enthusiasm."SMALL PARTMarge Hauritz, consultant to the Alice Alcohol Representative Committee and in charge of the recently concluded survey of public opinion on alcohol in Alice, agrees that restrictions are "just one small part of what must be done"."In other parts of Australia we have worked with the community to develop a strategic plan to take them where they want to go."Dr Hauritz says even a simple program of restrictions has to be sustained, by the efforts of a community-based management group and a project officer who keep an eye on its implementation, and by constant measuring of its effects, not just during the trial period but "forever after".Dr Gray suggests that in the development of a strategic plan one important issue that the community needs to consider, which to date has been skirted in Alice Springs, is the relationship between on-premises and off-premises drinking.The NDRI has been involved in numerous studies in rural and remote WA and the Territory.Says Dr Gray: "One of the things you find in those areas is that by and large some publicans have wanted to sell grog to Aboriginal people but not have them on the premises."In one town hoteliers were saying to us clearly that they didn't want Aboriginal patrons. "They were saying Aboriginal patrons discouraged other patrons, but they were all more than willing to sell to them through hotel bottleshops or liquor stores. "We've done work in a town on the fringe of the desert in WA, where in the sixties they had a black bar and a white bar, now they've got a front bar and a back bar, but it's the same thing. "The front bar no one would want to drink in cement floors, flaking paint on the walls, one table and two chairs."Why would anyone, black or white, drink in those sorts of premises when they could drink under a shady tree in the river?"The problem is there are no controls in the river, whereas on licensed premises you do have some controls. "Most publicans really don't want fights in their bar and they will cut people off, but here and in WA some licensees load people up with grog, shove them out the door and then people drink in environments where there is no constraint on intoxicated behaviour."That's when you get the assaults and the domestic violence, which you see in non-Aboriginal populations as well."Dr Gray says there is a good case for having beer gardens attached to licensed premises, to get drinking back into a controlled environment."This would require hotel proprietors to be willing to put in the appropriate amenities and to keep them up to standard." RSL NOT JUST FOR OLD DIGGERS! By DOROTHY GRIMM. The RSL chose Anzac Day to launch the club's drive to return to "the good old fashioned fun days" for people of all ages."We have started holding 60-40 nights with a smorgasbord and barn dances and people have had a grand time," says Kevin Sedunary, Alice Springs RSL Club president."People think the RSL is just for those who are in the services or are former members of a service but there are other categories of membership too."A person can be an affiliate or associate member if one's mother or father or grandfather was in the service."And even if there are no service personnel in one's family, one can join as a social member."The RSL does have observances which are held daily, such as the observance at 9pm every night, seven days a week, and social members are expected to participate."This observance honours the fallen with two minutes of silence.The RSL Club was founded in Australia in 1916 and the Alice Springs Club began in 1932 with 12 members.In addition to maintaining the club premises on Schwartz Crescent, at the bottom of Anzac Hill, the RSL organises Anzac Day and Remembrance Day functions each year. The RSL also supports various organisations including the cadet movement, the Air Training Corps, the Veterans Information Centre of Central Australia (VICCA), and a museum on the club's premises."The Veterans Information Centre supports both current servicemen and ex-servicemen in providing information on such things as pensions and welfare benefits," says Ray Duthie, Alice Springs RSL vice-president. VICCA also represents servicemen and ex-servicemen on review boards and Administrative Appeal Tribunals."Mr Sedunary says the RSL Club supports the community in other ways too."For example, if asked, RSL members will go to the schools and talk to the students about the meaning of Anzac Day."And the RSL facilities may be hired by community organisations."For instance, the Migrant Resource Centre recently hired the facilities in the back of the RSL Club building for the National Harmony Day festivities and had a very successful night."The area is very well equipped with good amenities and bar."It also has entertainment facilities including a dance floor and band stand."The RSL Club's Museum features a wide range of memorabilia from pictures and books to weapons and medals.Displays, which change periodically, are featured in two of the club's rooms, the bar and dining
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