Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975



Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975

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Parliamentary Record 5


Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly


Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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pages 457 - 498

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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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490 Personally I think these woes could be contributed to in varying forms by the whole Territory. I do not think that the dri~king pr~b lem is that much less in say Kathenne or Ahce Springs, it is just that Dr Milner made his report on the Darwin scene. I~ this chap~er, Dr Milner gives a comprehenslve plan whl.ch is capable of step by step de,:,elopment w~th inbuilt testing and the capacity to flex with changes in problems, need, failures and successes. He outlines some 23 overall needs: Declaration of social ideals and of long and short-term goals. Community education for high risk groups; for groups of influences-doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, police, judiciary, politician.s, journalists and service club; for youth m general; for the community as a whole. Identification of problem drinkers, groups at risk and their needs. Measurement ofthe problems and their costs. Adequate funding of necessary services. ~e[(~rral systems. Recruitment of key co-ordmatmg staff. Purchase of equipment and facilities. A "sobering up" unit. Detoxification faci~i~ies. Recruitment of general staff. Staff Trammg. Assessment procedures and centres. Treatment facilities. Rehabilitation facilities. Compulsory care facilities. Confident~~lly for all clients. Follow-through capabihty. Evaluation of results. Research into new intervention and detection techniques, as well as the identification of what type of client does best with any given therapy. Access to computer services. Prevention. Co-ordination of the above complex set of responses, for no one measure will work in isolation. He has spelt out several aspects of these needs. Members will be quick to realise that the implementation of these needs is one that cannot be taken lightly. What we must ask ourselves is whether we are prepared to accept these approaches to fight the immense problem that faces the community eve!), day of our lives. Are we prepared to commlt the amount of public resources required and thus not available for some other community use or are we prepared to only maintain a strict cleaning program? To my mind there is no halfway house, the community must face the alcoholism problem that is with us. Individually many of you will say you do 1?-0t have a problem; this itself is one of the major problems of the scene. We must face it, fight it and beat it. I commend the report to members DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 and congratulate Dr Milner on its comprehensive nature and its realistic approach. Mr KILGARIFF: If ever a subject causes me frustration in the Legislative Assembly, this subject does because, over the years, there have been so many expressions of opinions, so many reports, and what happens? A lot of steam is let off and nothing happens. I am only speaking for a brief 3 or 4 minutes because I have said these things over and over again, but very briefly I go back to the day when we asked the Legislative Assembly for an inquiry into liquor. We had an inquiry into liquor. Mr Adams QC brought in a report which indicated the problems of the Northern Territory. He indicated the death rate and the accident rate per population; he indicated that we had the highest in Australia and one of the highest in the world. In that liquor report certain things were recommended. What happened? Nothing happened. Admittedly the Legislative Assembly tried to bring in a Liquor Commission but that has been frustrated too because oflack of draftsmen. What actually has the government done? They have done nothing except consider the situation and we have a most serious situation on our hands. What has happened now is that we have had another inquiry into liquor and, with due respect to Dr Milner, it is a good report. The recommendations are good or most of them are-there are one or two that I think we would have to look at much more closely, particularly when it comes to recommending a 0.03 alcohol content. The fact is that what he is saying has been said before and nothing has happened. Dr Milner says that decriminalisation of public intoxication will prove a good and logical move ifit is one of a comprehensive.set of community actions designed to recogmse, meet and overcome alcohol use problems. We all agree with that. As a firm step forward, I would like to recommend to this Assembly so that something firm can be done about it, that we consider setting up an alcohol and drug authority based on the Western Australian report of 1973, "The treatment of alcohol and drug dependence". This alcohol and drug authority should provide us with treatm~nt, management, care for those people suffenng from alcohol or drug abuse. That is what we need here today. Why do we have to continue to have reports? Why do we not take the bit between our teeth and look after these people who are our biggest problem in the Territory today?

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