Booze rehab funding falls short


As alcohol related crime and misery are continuing unabated, the Alice Springs News Online has learned that part of the town’s major rehabilitation centre is standing empty.
The Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Programmes Unit (CAAAPU), which has just successfully completed several months under external administration, has been unsuccessful in securing $880,000 funding from the Federal Government, consigning a nine bed complex for women to mothballs.
This is despite almost daily referrals from courts and self-referrals from women seeking rehabilitation.
CEO Pauline Reynolds, when asked for comment, said the situation is unlikely to change in the near future as the 2016/17 funding round is now completed.
p2310-CAAAPU-2Also, a complex (pictured at right) for six men is standing idle because the NT Department of Justice has withdrawn funding.
Ms Reynolds says women with an alcohol problem seeking help are now on a longer than necessary waiting list.
Even if the nine beds were being funded there would be a shortfall: CAAAPU offers a 56 day Residential Program. Ms Reynolds believes that, were funding available, the nine beds in that section could be filled in two weeks.
Meanwhile it is understood that some women attending court, who may be suitable for residential rehabilitation, are instead being accommodated in the prison.
Ms Reynolds says CAAAPU has 10 beds for women admitted under the Alcohol MandatoryTreatment provisions.

These are women who have been in protective custody three times in a month and have been assessed by a tribunal.


Four of these beds are currently empty but cannot be used for other women because they must be used for the program funded by the NT Department of Health.


CAAAPU’s total capacity is 40 beds.


The Alice Springs News Online is seeking comment from the ministers.



  1. Clearly the NT Government has no real interest in really supporting these useful programmes.
    As usual they pay it lip service, hoping to win political points. Words like commitment spring to mind, but when does the NT Government ever commit?!
    Then of course, there’s the equality question? Are wome less entitled to these services? In the NT Governments eyes, clearly yes.
    I was interested to read that the funding had been submitted for the 2016/2017 and was clearly knocked back.
    Programmes such as these require regular and ongoing funding. Surely there must be a mechanism for the Government to apply some kind of Emergency funding for this kind of thing.
    Where people wish to help themselves, they should be encouraged and the facilities should always be available.
    After all, the Government always seem to find the funding for their Jollies and Christmas parties.

  2. Where is Nigel Scullion? This speaks volumes about the CLP’s ability to influence Canberra and to make stuff happen when and where it is most needed.
    Yes, CAAAPU needed to get its affairs in order, but now let’s get the system back on track.
    Prison is not the answer for alcoholism in the vast majority of cases! And surely the costs are commensurate with residential rehabilitation?
    What is the NT’s ‘closing the gap’ bonus money getting spent on exactly?
    Some broad figures about successful rehabilition would be good here, Erwin.

  3. Surprised – were is Nigel or whoever you really are? What will this online paper report on when the CLP are not in power?
    You will get your Labor government with a scattering of independents and all you who vote for them deserve what you get.
    Everyone has forgotten what the CLP has done for Alice Springs. God help us all.

  4. It’s time the Aboriginal council and Central Land Council put up some funds. Some of the royalty cheques could go to funding this program. Just on the bright side, in NT News a person who has spent three months in an alcohol rehabilitation centre was caught stealing three boxes of grog.

  5. Does Centrepay pay the appropriate % income for accommodation costs?
    Those actually paying rent for valid tenancy leases perhaps at reduced rate.

  6. @ Jim: I am not a Labor supporter. I WAS a CLP supporter.
    Your comment “Everyone has forgotten what the CLP has done for Alice Springs. God help us all” is old hat, PAST tense.
    I want to see someone lead … and commit, but alas, there are no suitable candidates or honourable ones, with enough backing.
    Politicians need to continuously offer improvements, not sit on their laurels and brag about what they have done.
    If they understood anything about business, they would know this. When a business sits on their laurels and say, look what we did, they get into trouble, just like the pollies.
    But you are correct in: God help us all.
    IMHO, Alice Springs News, offers factual, fair and unbiased articles.
    They just ask the pointy questions, which frightens only those who have things to hide.

  7. So what has the CLP done for Alice again? Apart from the pointless costly overpass, of course.
    [ED – Hi “Collins”: the overpass was a Federal project, but paid for by a government that one would expect go get advice from its NT counterpart. When we asked Chief Minister Adam Giles whether he thought the $24m for the overpass was money well spent he replied: “Absolutely.”]

  8. With all these rehabilitation centres in Alice Springs, will further funding to CAAAPU be warranted? What statics are there to show how many women have actually been successfully rehabilitated at the centre?
    I would predict, not too many. So would this be another waste public moneys?

  9. @ Fred the Philistine: From what I know, the rehab time at CAAAPU is around eight weeks. During this time the clients are alcohol free and provided a good diet and as they are allowed visitors, will most likely receive some support from their families.
    Clearly, as with any clients in rehab, it can be a very long road to recovery.
    Perhaps the issue we have, is that we are expecting results, shortly after immediately, rather than looking at the bigger and holistic picture.
    In my opinion, any substance abuse is only the result of “other” things going on. Perhaps we need to look a little deeper into the causes.
    I am not advocating any type of substance abuse or the resulting outcomes from such, just pointing out that these are behavioural issues that need to be investigated.
    I would imagine some of the clients have long histories of substance abuse, so there in no quick fix.
    Only by the provision of continued support, hence regular and continued funding are likely to see the benefits to any of these programmes.
    I can’t imagine trying to run a business, knowing that your funding will expire after 12 months or such.
    How can you plan for anything? let alone deal with the costs any unforeseen situations.
    The Government manage, because they do not actually produce anything useful. They would just open the accrual bucket, or shift the money from somewhere else.
    The fact that some government departments are still encouraged to spend any surpluses before June 30 says it all.
    I doubt if CAAAPU and others will ever have that luxury or more importantly, be that negligent.
    IMHO, CAAAPU and some of the other orgs, do a great job and should be supported.


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