Liz, thanks very much for your considered reply, including history. …

Comment on Wanted: big fresh tourism ideas by Russell Guy.

Liz, thanks very much for your considered reply, including history. I worked for CAAMA from 1981 before we moved to Little Sisters Town Camp. I place it on the record without going into the medical detail.
Numerous people note the failure of “restriction after restriction.” Point: Take-away alcohol sales free days have never been trialled in Alice Springs, despite the ongoing deaths from excessive alcohol consumption. It was successful in this at Tennant Creek. I lived it and I’ve given the stats repeatedly, including the preventable loss of close young friends from misadventure through alcohol abuse.
It can be successful here for numerous reasons, primarily, assisting the Police so that they may concentrate more on other areas, for which many of those same nay-sayers accuse them of lacking resource. Take-away is a bottomless pit. Let’s plug it, instead of throwing more billions of dollars into it.
You and I agree that this is a whole of community problem: NT Liquor Commission, NTG and the Feds will respond if the community owns it and calls for assistance. The ASTC election needs to reflect that this week. This is responsible leadership.
You say “no more take-aways,” but then “no one has been able to pinpoint” a reason for alcohol-related anti-social behaviour. Respected community-based bodies like PAAC are calling for one take-away alcohol free day per week and if you’ve read that CAAC ASTP submission, you’d have seen that what they are saying amounts to the same thing, but the pin-prick appears to be falling on deaf ears, except perhaps for the Senate Standing Committee’s inquiry into Stronger Futures legislation, which the CLP is rumoured to be in favour of dismantling.
Waiting for “input for stakeholders” in the grog debate in this town is a pipe-dream. It ain’t gonna happen if the last 30 years is anything to go by. You’ve said as much in the opening chapter of your novel.
I’ve been advocating a multi-pronged approach from the word “go” as has Domenico Pecorari in these posts. There are capable, existing centres and rehabilitative programs standing by. I’ve been informed by medical professionals in Alice that this is correct. Housing, as you identify, is a problem.
It’s time to get pragmatic about housing, but welfare reform won’t be successful until alcohol reform is tackled. This is, at least, an attempt to answer the core areas associated with responsible drinking and restore some order to chaos.
I hope your “Meet the Candidate” sausage sizzle goes well. You’re a mover and shaker and a person who values trying to stay out of the smearing campaing – I respect that.
This week, the survival of Alice desperately needs a show of support for take-away alcohol free days to be trialled and evaluated over a twelve month period.
I spoke to two candidates, both new, who I ran into in the Mall yesterday and they support alcohol reform as well as law and order.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Wanted: big fresh tourism ideas
Liz, you’ve been Deputy Mayor in a town plagued by violence and excessive alcohol consumption where the two pubs sell take-away alcohol seven days a week, primarily to the more impoverished and disadvantaged members of our community. It’s a continuous top-up, drip feed whereby they are hooked to the cheap cask wine and beer.
Take-away alcohol free day/s would provide a circuit breaker for everyone and allow some meaningful compassionate intervention. Your campaign message spruiks “equality” and you are on record as acknowledging this disadvantage by many social indicators, all of which impact the social gradient in a town like Alice. Last year, it was reported that the two political parties received campaign donations from the liquor industry.
What is your position on take-away alcohol restrictions? Why haven’t you publicly acknowledged alcohol as an election issue? What are you going to do about it? I’m not real keen in attending any more sausage sizzle talk-fests, but I’d appreciate your answers to these questions.


Wanted: big fresh tourism ideas
Thanks for your time, Liz. It’d be easy to get on the wrong side of you at a time like this, but thanks for going on the record about the raft of issues that cause the alcohol-related domestic violence which, among others, prompted my request to you.
However, I note that take-away alcohol sales free day/s have never been trialled in Alice Springs and that in your haste to move along, it needs to be tabled as an appropriate response.
The statistical evidence and experience that I presented surrounding Thirsty Thursday is substantial basis for responsible consideration of such a measure in Alice Springs.
Good luck with the novel.


Wanted: big fresh tourism ideas
Liz, finally after what feels like six weeks of advocating for take-away alcohol free days – plural – a candidate says that they have an open mind and are willing to listen, albeit, await convincing. I have waited a long time for this, but I’m cynical because of my age and experience, so forgive me if I seem wary of further betrayal.
I, too, lived in Tennant during some of the years of Thirsty Thursday (TT) and lost many dear friends with whom I’d worked and grown. I’m getting weary of presenting these stats, but the consumption of pure alcohol at the time of TT, reduced by 20%. When the one day restriction was lifted in 2006, it increased by 7.5% and anti-social stats continued to increase (PAAC Senate Standing Committee submission 6/2/12) to the chagrin of local police officers whom I knew.
I asked for and familiarised myself with these and many other research stats on what I see as the necessity of alcohol reform in Australia. There’s been none, to my knowledge, about road accident increase in the Barkly Region as a result of TT, but I used to watch people loading alcohol into the boot of their cars at Threeways and I’m not discounting what you suggest, but statistically this can be reduced by restricting the supply Territory-wide. Stats reveal that 55% of traffic accidents in the NT are attributable to high-risk consumption.
Alcohol is, without doubt, a causal factor, among others, in the domestic violence you mention and is associated with, not excluded by marijuana use. I would be interested if you enlarged on what you as other “causal issues”.
The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC, Alice Springs Town Plan, 7/12/09) notes that “a significant proportion of Aboriginal ‘problem drinkers’ in Alice Springs want to achieve safe drinking or sobriety and are seeking support to do so.” Take-away alcohol sales free days would assist them, their families and the community.
I suggest that it would impact the situation in a big way if given a trial. We have a large, complex problem and it requires a large multi-tasked approach to a solution. Many are in denial, but you at least have come out in the open. The benefits of consecutive take-away sales free days per week, would be an enormous breath of fresh air. Start with Sunday and move into the week.
Finally, without going into more stats (see Central Australia is perishing for a drink), can I add that the cost of maintaining the status quo is poor management of taxpayer funds. That, of course, is a gross understatement when you consider the economic stats, excluding the preventable human toll.
The re-direction of the multi-million dollar annual cost to the community in alcohol abuse could be directed into life-sustaining areas that support the re-growth of town planning that Domenico Pecorari speaks of in his “bottom-up” model.


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Indigenous gallery location done and dusted, says Lambley
@ Trevor Shiell. Posted 22nd June. 4:24pm.
The Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founder’s Museum in Longreach are kilometres from the CBD, but the Town Council has had to build an additional caravan park on the river because, in peak season, the others are full.
The new dinosaur park in Winton is out of town.
Probably because they build the town in the wrong place back then.
If only they’d known.
Some people have been calling for a Town Plan in Alice for years, but have given the game away and it’s easy to see why.
Even you have expressed this Yirara idea several times.
Ever get the feeling you’re a cracked record?
Actually, ‘blessed are the cracked for they shall let in a little light.’


Pine Gap’s new role as a war fighting command centre
Redundancy in the use of GPS technology, especially in relation to aviation and weather forecasting, is vital, but who knows how many satellites there are, which ones are kaput and which are fully functional for commercial or military purposes?
So many of us take satellite-based technology for granted in our daily lives, more especially as cyber warfare, recently exposed as influencing Australian elections, becomes a hot-button issue for the democratic world.
In those terms, Pine Gap is a significant asset, although, I note that Professor Blaxland is an academic from the ANU which recently rejected a fully-funded scholarship program for studies in Western Civilisation, while hosting similar programs from Asian and Islamic sources.


Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Evelynne Roullet. Posted June 16th at 4: 37PM.
You acknowledge the connection between why so many kids are on the street and turning the tap down, but I wasn’t just referring to the meeting that you attended.
The philosophy behind the proposed THIS WAY youth centre, outlined in several posts, has made no mention of reducing the alcohol supply to the parents and families of these kids, despite my comment at the time that there is a connection.
As Rainer Chlanda has mentioned in his latest contribution to this debate, there were conflicting views at the meeting.
I don’t know if alcohol was mentioned, because I was unable to attend, but it seems to me that the philosophy so far espoused requires more input and that is why I have written about the harmful levels of consumption still practised and the liberal supply of alcohol still available in Alice Springs.
Surely, enabling the kids to return to a safe home, if they have one, in which alcohol dependency is mediated by turning the tap down, should be part of the equation.
You imply that it would have been off-subject and boycotted.
The continuing head in the sand denial of liberal supply is counter-productive to solving youth issues in a family-related way.
There needs to be a continuing debate about the flow of alcohol in town.
If you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.
The NT has the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita than any other state in Australia.
The Gunner Government has begun the reform.
My point is that it needs to go further and that community action, such as the meeting set up by the organisers of THIS WAY, should publically declare direction for government reform.
No Sunday take-away would be a useful place to turn the tap down for the many reasons enumerated over many years, not least the huge saving to government and a more co-ordinated approach recommended by Rainer Chlanda.


Cops nab alleged grog runners
@ Ted Egan. Posted June 15 at 11:19am:
I think you know the answer to that one, Ted.
Since 1986 when Justice Muirhead proposed that glass flagons be withdrawn, due to their being a lethal weapon in alcohol-related fights, the packaging has changed and we have plastic bottles.
In the apocalyptic world of a shrill society that is being destroyed by the commercialisation of alcohol, there are proposed variations to takeaway supply for Tennant Creek and the Barkly: 4-7 for Tennant Creeks and the wider Barkly 12-7 Monday to Saturday. No Sunday trading.
The Licensing Commission proposes that the sale of the following products will be limited to no more than one of the following per person per day:
• 18 cans or stubbies of light beer (not more than 2.7% alcohol by volume); or
• 12 cans or stubbies of mid-strength beer (not more than 3.5% alcohol by volume); or
• 6 cans or stubbies of cider or full strength beer; or
• 6 cans or bottles of Ready to Drink mixes; or
• One bottle of fortified wine; or
• One bottle of green ginger wine; or
• Two x 750 ml bottles of wine; or
• One 750 ml bottle of spirits, unless one such bottle has been purchased in the past 24 hours.
Any person of age who is not on the Banned Drinkers Register can purchase that amount of grog six days a week.
A similar situation exists in Alice Springs seven days a week, with a floor price of $1.50 per standard drink.
The Gunner Government was looking at buying back takeaway alcohol licences from the critical mass of outlets in the Alice Springs CBD, but I’ve not heard any success of late.
At least it reveals an admission that the policy of the past fifty years of liberal supply has been disastrous.
I knew two young Aboriginal men, among others, Colin Proud and Ivan Dixon when I worked at CAAMA in the early 80s whose lives were destroyed by alcohol.
There have been thousands since.
Colin was a teetotaller, but the destruction of his world was too much to bear. Ivan passed away, also in his 30s, from cirrhosis of the liver. They would have been in their 60s now and good friends, I’m sure.
The sale of grog by Aboriginal-owned outlets and secondary supply by Aboriginal people is a fact of life.
The latter is vice, the former is unfortunate. The net result is the same.
It would still destroy people like Colin who lost hope in the apocalyptic world of a shrill society.
We haven’t come a long way from the Yuendemu flagon wagon. The government drives it around the track while people look on like a sport in the colosseum.
They probably think it’s politically naive to do much more or maybe, given the consultation over the Art Gallery, it’s what the people want.
The proposal for a 24/7 Youth Centre has no mention of turning the tap down.
The Gunner Government rejected limiting seven days a week takeaway in the NT as recommended by Justice Riley, but maybe we should be encouraged that they have proposed no Sunday in the Barkly and reinstated the BDR. It seems to have bipartisan support.
Perhaps, Colin may have been encouraged and gone on the BDR.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
I endorse Domenico and Hal’s comments below, although a lot of epitaphs on sandstone are being erased by time and wind.
Some are evidence of a more Christian society one hundred years ago, others are philosophical.
It’s interesting and reflective to wander through the older section of our cemeteries; to maintain, rather than deny present and future generations of historians.


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