Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 August 1981)
Debates for 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 19 August 1981 sniffing to be a symptom, not a cause in itself. I think that it is caused by the relationship between 2 cultures in conflict. I have talked about it before in the Assembly and I will not expatiate on that tonight. But kids are involed in a situation of cultural conflict. The patterns of traditional authority have broken down. The whole question of alcohol and drug abuse is involved here and its effect on children is one reflex of it. I believe we have to take very seriously the concerns that have been expressed in this matter. I mentioned the Liappa Congress before, also the Unguja community, a community west of Armidale which has been lobbying the Department of Social Security. I understand that, unfortunately, in last night's budget, funding was not provided for a proposalto provide special-care arrangements for these children. I believe that, if we are serious about this, we must find a way to make a co-ordinated approach to solving the problem. Get together all the people who have knowledge, who are interested; Aboriginal people; people with skills in any area that might impinge on this. I think there is a need for an exchange of information. That much has become obvious to me. At this point, I will mention a couple of initiatives that have been tried, one in particular at Wallace Rockhole, which is an outstation from Hermannsburg. I believe,with regard to this problem, outstations hold out a possibility for a hopeful solution. Outstations of course, are based on clan relationship with country. That is very important to Aboriginal people, and with that sort of reinforcemen~ I understand that many of the kids involved in that situation have been able to feel much more purpose in their lives. The other approach, of course, is to apply sanctions to the kids, denying access to petrol - a good idea of course. One possibility that was mentioned to me by the police at Papunya that may be worth looking at is the application of some sort of protective custody. As I mentioned, these children are around the settlement at night. The law does not allow the police to look after them as they would like to. I am not sure of the ramifications of this but I think it is something that ought to be considered. Finally, I appreciate this opportunity to bring to the attention of the Assembly what I think is a major health problem in the Territory. It is not just in central Australian communities, it is a big problem in the communities of Arnhem Land and elsewhere. It is the sort of thing that the Drug and Alcohol Bureau could take a particular interest in, in terms of collecting and disseminating information. I would also call for a commitment by the Northern Territory government in terms of funds for particular programs to show that we are honest in our attempts to do something about this problem. Mr DONDAS (Casuarina): Mr Deputy Speaker, yesterday the member for Nightcliff asked me whether a tug boat was brought overland from Western Australia at great expense. In ~nswer to the member's question, it was not a tug boat; it was a pilot boat. The situation was that the Port Authority advertised Australia-wide for a particular vessel. Thirteen organisations around Australia put in tenders to supply it. The one from Western Australia was successful. Delivery into Darwin waters was in the contract price. Therefore, the Port Authority had no jurisdiction over the way in which the successful company was able or not able to bring the vessel to Darwin. I believe that the Port Authority had disGussions with the State Shipping Company of Western Australia at the time and was satisfied that the contract was in order and that the suppliers were able to transport the vessel to Darwin in the way they thought best. 1338
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