The Northern Territory Government has welcomed Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin’s support for welfare quarantining measures to apply to problem drinkers placed into Alcohol Mandatory Treatment, writes Robyn Lambley (pictured), NT Health Minister.
How much accurate and relevant information is needed to start a protest campaign? The ratio is in indirect proportion to the distance from what is being protested about: The further you are away from the action, the less you need to know – and get away with it. At least that's what is suggested by the "Six years of the NT Intervention is six years too long" campaign by the St Vincent de Paul Society, ACOSS and the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The draft Bill prescribing the Government’s alcohol mandatory treatment reforms has been released for public scrutiny and will be introduced into the Territory Parliament this week and debated during the Estimates sittings on 27 June, writes John Elferink, Leader of Government Business.
"There appears to be a large number of people subject to Compulsory Income Management who are unlikely to benefit from this measure, and for whom the restrictions of income management can create unnecessary frustrations and challenges." So conclude the authors of an independent evaluation of the controversial measure in their first report. A second report, not due until 2014, will include an economic evaluation, answering the question of whether the measure delivers value for money compared to other interventions. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Australian Government today announced improvements to the delivery of income management in the Northern Territory, in response to findings from an interim evaluation report. The interim report by the Australian National University, Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Walesfound that among Indigenous people on income management in the Northern Territory, there was a statistically significant perception of an improvement in their ability to afford food.
Source: Media release by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin
The NT Government continues to focus its alcohol policy reforms on "problem drinkers", seen as those who commit alcohol-related crime.
Minister for Alcohol Policy, Delia Lawrie, has introduced legislation to Territory parliament that gives police and the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Tribunal "additional tools to get problem drinkers out of public places and into rehabilitation".
Police will have the power to issue an infringement notice to people drinking in a public place within two kilometres of licensed premises and causing a nuisance to other persons. This will be in in addition to their existing power to tip out grog.
The infringement notice will be linked to the Banned Drinker Register, increasing "the ability of police to target repeat offenders and direct them into treatment".
The AOD Tribunal will be able to force problem drinkers into rehabilitation and also to make orders that a person be subject to income management.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Conservative British Government proposing to introduce a floor price for alcohol in the UK, a floor price at least for the NT has again become a hot debating point. – Kieran Finnane