Action on alcohol by the new Territory Government is still lacking detail, despite all the attention the issue got in the Legislative Assembly.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice John Elferink, making a Ministerial Statement on Alcohol and Crime on October 31, lauded former Chief Minister Marshall Perron's Living with Alcohol program: "Risks were taken, innovation given a chance and home-made programs were promoted." Not all of them flourished though because "clear analysis of the outcome allowed for a rigorous assessment and many programs were stopped on these criteria". Reading Hansard you can't see whether he blushed when he went on to criticise the former government for not taking "a leaf from this book". KIERAN FINNANE comments.
The Territory Government is determined to let Aboriginal people decide on whether they want grog or stronger grog in their communities. Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson backs this while also expressing her confidence that 99.9% will say no to grog. Now Aboriginal Peak Organisations have announced a summit to get a "firm overview of Aboriginal views".
"Our politicians are right—the ultimate decision over managing alcohol on our communities must lie with our people—all of us," said alliance spokesperson Priscilla Collins.
Freedom of choice for Aborigines is dominating the parliamentary debate on alcohol but the link between excessive drinking and lack of employment is also receiving attention. Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy (Labour) told parliament about the "great fun" he had at Aboriginal social clubs in Kalkaringi and Nguiu but stressed that "the employment programs are running at less than 30%" in those communities. Member for Braitling Adam Giles (Country Liberals) said "paying people to do nothing" remains "the No 1 issue", something that Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood strongly agreed with. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Source: MLAs' comments as reported in Daily Hansard.