Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 - Thursday 16 August 1990 screening many advertisements about alcohol abuse and its effects. Some of the advertisements are in Pitjantjatjara and, hopefully, we will see advertisements produced in all the various languages in the Territory in the future. I would like to take some time to talk about my community of Nguiu on Bathurst Island. We are looking at this problem of alcohol abuse. It is causing' many problems. Famil ies are breaking up and we are losing our ceremonies and culture. We are very concerned about it. A month or so ago, we had a public meeting. We also had a referendum. People voted on whether they wanted clubs to be open, whether they wanted opening hours to change, and whether they wanted to continue to drink. draught beer or to change to canned beers. The most interesting question related to the age at which people can legally drink beer. In most of Australia, it is 18 but my community decided that it should be 21. The community has said that many of the troublemakers are young fellows aged between 18 and 21. Many of the young fellows get involved in fights and arguments in the club and out in the streets, and raising the age limit will help. However, there is still a problem in that they will be able to go across to Melville Island, do their dri nk i ng there and come back. That is' another matter that we wi 11 need to look at. The Tiwi' people are concerned and they are addressing the problem very seriously. The Tiwi Land Council, the body 'in charge of the Tiwi lands of Melville and Bathurst Islands, has looked at the problem. The custodians' and traditional owners are concerned about the cultural aspects and ;a1so the effects on the management of our' 1 and. The 1 and council has suggested that maybe we shou 1 d set up another settl ement, perhaps on Me 1 vi 11 e Is 1 and. Bathurst would not be a very good. place to do it because there are too many people living on Bathurst Island although perhaps we need another mission at the other end of Bathurst Island. Th'ese are some of the suggestions which : have been made by the traditional people on Bathurst Island. They are looking at the problem .. It is hard for them because, in their younger days, they had no alcohol problem or pet ro 1 sn iff i ng prob 1 ems or whatever. Back in the old days, it was free. All they did was hunt and fish and so on. They keep on telling us that and te Hi ng their young people that they had: no prob 1 emsi n their day but they realise the problems that the young people are having today.:. The land counc i1 and the community asa whole have looked at the hck of employment and training. It is another major factor which; has been brought up by the people. There are no jobs for the young people, the age group. between 18 and 40. Too many people are on the dole and that is causing the community concern. I am sure. that many' other Aboriginal communities are addressing this matter as well~ In my electorate, the situation at Oenpell i seems to be working all right except that, when the community bans people from drinking, they have access to Jabiru and Cooinda and other places like that. Problems are still bei ng caused by the number of 1 i qUO)'1out 1 ets. . Mi nj il ang and Warruwi are both dry communities. They consume a lot of kava and petrol sniffing is another problem. The communities are addressing those problems. Maningrida' is a big problem area in my electorate, the reason being that about 8 different language groups live in one area and they simply cannot get on together. Many of the outstations around. Maningrida have been set up to relieve some of the tension in the community. There are about 60 outstations associated with Maningrida, which. is good. Apart from alcohol, petrol sniffing is the major problem in Maningrida. 9947