War on booze abuse in jungle of jargon and acronyms


Women needing to get off the grog will soon no longer be forced into treatment because the NT Government is abolishing its Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) but they may be referred to treatment under the soon to be resurrected Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) except they won’t be able to go to the Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Programs Unit (CAAAPU) because half of it is being shut down in the wake of the abolition of the AMT and neither are they likely to be admitted to the Drug and Alcohol Services Association (DASA) whose beds are usually full which means they will be sent 500 kilometres north to the facilities of the Barkly Region Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Group Inc (BRADAAG) which is under Special Administration with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).
Got that?
There is more.
About 24 people, half of CAAAPU’s staff, are likely to lose their jobs as a result of the AMT’s discontinuation.
A CAAAPU source says the voluntary treatment referral unit will continue to operate but the loss of key staff currently responsible for both sections may cause problems.
p2160-Natasha-FylesHealth Minister Natasha Fyles (pictured) says the AMT evaluation report, commissioned by the former CLP government, had shown “the AMT didn’t work” but she hints CAAAPU may still have a role under the new Labor alcohol regime.
“We’ve listened to the experts who say evidence supports a voluntary approach to rehabilitating people who struggle with addiction.
“That’s why we’ve built a referral process into the new BDR model and ensured all Territorians who are included on the list have access to clinical assessments and pathways to therapeutic treatment.
“I’ve asked my department to investigate options to ensure adequate capacity for people who have been referred to treatment by the BDR in Central Australia,” says Ms Fyles.
Meanwhile Pauline Reynolds, currently the CEO of BRADAAG but until recently employed by CAAAPU to get it out of special administration, says women’s residential rehab there was de-funded by Prime Minister and Cabinet more than 18 months ago.
Nevertheless, during her time in Alice a building with nine beds for women was being refurbished in the hope it would be used.
“We were told it may be funded in the future,” she says.
CAAAPU have appointed Patrick Cooper as the interim CEO. He was the manager of the the Remote Health section of the Department of Health.
We have asked CAAAPU for comment.
PHOTO: Woman’s room at CAAAPU, from its website.


  1. I have several times suggested that we need pollies with guts. Stupidly, I neglected to add BRAINS!
    Yet another moronic decision by the Government. What will it cost to transport these people to BRADAAG, let alone the impact on any family support for the clients and other logistical issues.
    The Directors at CAAAPU let (forced?) a great CEO to go, instead of upholding their OBLIGATION to set the Strategic Direction for the organisation.
    The question is why would anyone put so much passion into getting an organisation back on track out of special administration and build it up, only to leave about 12 months later. It doesn’t make sense!
    If the directors, current and former, should be ashamed of themselves and if they have a conscience, they will sleep very poorly for a long time for allowing this to happen. 24 People out of a job due to Director mismanagement!
    Why aren’t the directors and in particular the chair Michael Liddle, held accountable?
    Furthermore, didn’t the Federal government use “jobs, jobs, jobs” in some campaign?
    Oh yeah I forgot, the Territory government has a different agenda.

  2. It is more than a tad rich for ‘Surprised’ to request “pollies with guts” when he/she does not have the intestinal fortitude to attach their name when giving comment.

  3. Graham, the Alice Springs News knows my identity. They have a stringent policy to protect their sources. This is probably in place because some may take offense, if they knew the identity of authors, but they do need to verify the people who contribute to the paper.
    Anyway from your comment, I am assuming that you agree that pollies are not required to have BRAINS, as you didn’t comment on it!
    Furthermore, I am not paid by the taxpayers as the pollies are. I am not is a position where I am directly or indirectly in control of millions of TAXPAYER dollars.
    I am however, fully accountable to the people who pay me and also to those I represent, whether or not I receive remuneration.
    Pollies should also be held accountable for past and present decisions and in this case, so should the directors and former directors of CAAAPU.
    Let’s all stop being emotional and add some real content for discussion, albeit robust at times.
    One liners are usually not particularly helpful or informative.


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