Parliamentary record : Part I debates (02 October 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 2 October 1990 Commission gave the game away when he described the bi 11 as being designed simply to tidy up the town a bit. As. I have said, there are existing provisions that would enable us to tidy up the town a bit if we were serious about it. Nevertheless, we have other responsibilities. We have responsibilities towards that large number of people, black and white, in our community who, for whatever reason, are steadily drinking themse 1 ves to death. Some of them do it in pub li c places.' I suspect that the vast majority do it in private. My problem with this bill is that it distracts us from the major objectives of trying to stop those people ruining their lives, of trying, to turn, them into productive citizens, of tryi ng to take them off the soci a 1 security system and of tryi ng to take them out of our hospitals so that there is not only an improvement in their lifestyle but also a reduction in the costs which the whole community has to bear. Those are the real objectives which must be addressed. That i swhy the member for MacDonne 11 has suggested that this bill shou 1 d be cons i de,red in the context of the work of the Sess i ona 1 Commi ttee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol by the, Community where it can be viewed in the context of an overriding aim. In that light, it is extremely unfair for the member for Jingili to remark that the member for MacDonnell is saying the same thing now as he was saying in 1982. During the last few years, and almost single-handedly, the member for MacDonnell has raised persistently the problem of alcohol abuse. His efforts in this Assembly led to the establ ishment of the sessional committee, a step which has been very important in generating debate ,on this very important issue. It would not hurt the honourable members opposite to forward this proposed legislation to the sessional committee to allow it to assess whether it i sappropriate in the broader context of the sessional committee's charter - that i,s, whether it will make a valid, long-term contribution towards the improvement of the 1 ife of those people affl icted by alcohol in our community and whether it wi 11 contribute positively to lifestyle of the remainder of the community. Instead of that, instead of what could have been a significant contribution to that debate, we have a short-term, quick-fix solution which does not address the major problem. MrHATTON (Health and Community Services): Mr Speaker, I rise to support thebi 11. Like the Leader of the Opposition, I have 1 i stened to thi s afternoon's debate with some interest. Unfortunate ly, I cannot share his views on the quality of the debate, particularly the contributions from those opposite. Taken in isolation, those contributions would lead one to conclude that this government is proposing an amendment to the 2 km law as a panacea to all the problems with alcohol in the Northern Territory and claiming that the amendment will provide some type of magical fix. Of course, nothi ng could be further from the truth and honourab 1 e members oppos ite should know that. They were present in the Assembly 1 ast week and participated in the committee stage of the Appropriation Bill. They asked me a specific question in respect of drug and alcohol problems, to which I gave a very comprehensive answer. The answer indicated that, this year, we have provided a 27% expansion in the funds available to drug and alcohol programs in the Northern Territory relating to prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation. The vast majority of that is directed towards alcohol because that is by far our most significant problem. Did we hear anything this afternoon, any recognition at all of the extent to which the Northern Territory government is dealing already with the issues of treatment, education and prevention. I did not refer last week to the various projects run by the police through the community 10 705
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