John, I’ve already posted my appreciation for your stand in …

Comment on Last meeting of 11th Council descends into chaos by Russell Guy.

John, I’ve already posted my appreciation for your stand in Council below, but I’ve been reflecting today and I’d like to add, “I wish there was more like you.”
As you may be aware through these posts, I’ve been advocating the untried, yet proven take-away alcohol sales free day/s restriction which I believe is necessary – not an option – if Alice is to have a chance of moving out of the ditch caused by statistically proven, ongoing, as yet unstoppable, excessive alcohol consumption.
The general mood among candidates for your old and noble post is that restrictions haven’t worked or that they’re “prohibition,” both illogical, given the above.
Logic and reason are subjective as the historical events to which you so admirably spoke in Council subsequently revealed, but please don’t fade away at this hour.
There is still a chance that the next generation of those most vulnerable to the effects of alcohol abuse may not have to end up in the ditch to which the majority of this generation is directing the present.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Last meeting of 11th Council descends into chaos
Ray, you’re obviously a newcomer to this debate. Welcome.
A take-away alcohol free sales day was successfully trialled in Tennant Creek from 1995 – 2006 (Thirsty Thursday). Positive results “included declines in alcohol sales, alcohol-related harm and alcohol-related offences”. The restriction also appeared to have a high level of community support.
There was a 7.5% increase in the sale and consumption of pure alcohol when the arrangement ceased in 2006′ (PAAC Senate submission to the Stronger Futures legislation. 6/2/12).
It hasn’t been tried in Alice Springs and needs to be introduced NT-wide, providing respite for families and drinkers both in towns and in Aboriginal communities.
There would be very minimal inconvenience to the majority who are responsible drinkers, but it would help address the disadvantage and inequality that the most impoverished members of our community face. There are many reasons for this and I direct you to Deputy Mayor Liz Martin’s recent post at the “Big Ideas in Tourism” story for reference.
One of the most pressing needs for this type of restriction is that take-away is an uncontrolled supply source as opposed to a pub / club environment where drinking levels are monitored (70% of liquor sold in the NT is take-away).
Another is the economic cost of statistically proven excessive alcohol consumption to the taxpayer, past, present and future escalating (twice the national level in Alice). Further associated stats can be found by googling the Alice Springs News Online archive under “Central Australia is perishing for a drink”.
Finally, there are the 2009 results of the first ever survey of children’s development in the first years of school, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) which reveal that two thirds of central Australian children are developmentally vulnerable in the areas of physical health, well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills (school based), communication skills and general knowledge. Aboriginal children have much higher rates.
It’s well reported that Australia is lagging in the education field and that we have challenging alcohol consumption figures, but don’t believe me, check out the AEDI statistics for yourself (Google it).
The point has been made by PAAC and the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) that disadvantage is a key factor in predisposition to “poor educational attainment, low incomes, poor life expectancy and the development of addictions including alcohol”. Familiarise yourself with some of the reason for disadvantage – they’re not all historical.
Parental alcohol addiction and child brain development are linked, both behaviourally and in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). We’re paying for this while we support the current situation of pub take-away sales. Responsible consumption or leadership? I don’t think so.
Take-away alcohol sales free day’s will help in further reducing the supply of alcohol (a critical factor), allowing evaluation of its effect and also, at least, serving to improve the educational attainment, parental responsibility, employment opportunities and housing initiatives of government programs, for which we have voted and pay.

2PM – 9PM Mon-Fri. 10AM – 9PM Sat. 12 –PM Sun

Last meeting of 11th Council descends into chaos
Well said, John.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Feel free to try this at home
The last Sunday in March is apparently ‘Neighbourhood Day’ around Australia. This morning, I was given a free cup of tea at a market stall, announcing the event.
A gent next to me said, “G’day, neighbour.”
I was momentarily affronted that he would break into my morning to tell me this after having had my home broken into during the weak.
I told him so and said that I would get over it, but it’s not the first time I’ve been robbed and I’m bruised.
The flyer that came with the free cuppa said: “The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us. Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can and do change communities, connections help prevent loneliness, isolation and depression. Reach out to families with children and teenagers in your community to help them connect and belong.”
I haven’t exactly been shy about doing this for most of my adult life, but I’m tired, burnt-out, lonely and depressed enough to be affronted by a simple act of goodwill from an anonymous man, posing as a neighbour at a market stall on Saturday morning.
Does anyone else feel like this?

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
It was about a quarter of a century ago – how time flies – a few years before I undertook a postgraduate Master of Social Science degree in sociology, anthropology and cross-cultural psychology (JCU, 2000), published the core of my thesis as BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES: A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission 1940-1962 (Boolarong Press, Brisbane).
And it was before I did a further five years, primarily in alcohol dependency mentoring at a remote Central Australian community, this after 15 years of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations around the country, mainly producing recordings and events for indigenous dance bands, that I thought that Alice Springs would become a kind of New York.
People from all over the US move to the Big Apple in search of greater opportunity for their dreams and aspirations and it’s no different among the Indigenous of Central Australia.
But I wonder if local town planners have factored this movement into their vision for the future?
Not so long ago, the too-often criticised police were talking about moving youth back to their communities, but the word is out that the purposelessness and abuse associated with these desert satellites is causing enough concern to render assisted passage to somewhere else.
These problems were first mooted, to my knowledge, by R M Williams in the 1930s who noted that the desert tribes were on a collision course with liberal alcohol supply.
Fast forward to the Gunner Government acting on most of the Riley Report recommendations (with the notable exception of banning Sunday takeaway).
It’s no coincidence that one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in Tennant Creek, where Sunday takeaway is currently under emergency extension, is referred to as “the Bronx.”
It’s early days in the implementation of various supply reduction measures, but 40 years of critical mass in the alcohol supply infrastructure cannot be exonerated for the Shakespearean tragedy of progressive Western values.
Beyond the alcohol plague, assuming that it will be reeled in, governments will have to give thought to how remote community families and former alcoholics will be accommodated in towns like Alice Springs, with attendant social support and employment opportunity.
The concept of safe or dry, no grog houses or Mandatory Rehabilitation Centres, will need to be extended to entire neighbourhoods, rising above the refugee or migrant settlements of yore.
This type of housing estate requires considerable financing, planning and input if it is to be built and assisted to succeed above the expectations of many of those who are complicit in causing the tragedy of lost generations and future opportunity.
It will transform the current vision of Alice Springs, but first of all, it needs to be put on the drawing board.
Ursula Le Guin, the novelist who passed away a couple of months ago, recently said: “I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”
Tracker was one. Surely, we can learn from what defeated his vision or the Enlightenment has bitten the dust.

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
I spoke to Tracker a few times during the Robert Tickner period. One of his more infamous quotes was referring to Aboriginal people as a farm for whitefellers to manage and be well paid for producing the current tragedy.
Quite a few informed commentators are now talking about assisting those who want to move from remote communities into towns where employment and education opportunities either exist or could be set up to end the hopelessness and various forms of abuse that can go with a purposeless life on a remote community.
More than one is talking about overcrowded housing as a major cause of dysfunction. I’m stating the obvious.
If Alice was to be a centre for remote community refugees to retrain, restart and realise a future, who would build the houses and where would they be built?
Who would pay the electricity bills while the transition is fostered?
Would Tangentyere and other organisations be resourced to manage this situation?
Could it even be done?
Tracker seemed to think so.
The Federal Government did it to resettle migrants.
I recall Bob Beadman saying a couple of years ago that alcoholism would bankrupt the NT, or words to that affect and finally, we have a floor price, but in moving from generational alcoholism to the provision of basic housing, it appears that there are too many hard questions not being asked or acted upon.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
@ Fiona: There’s some kind of irony in appealing for symbolic unity under an Aboriginal flag when Kittles, an Aboriginal-owned company is continuously trashed by children of Native Title holders.
It suggests that there’s some other law at work and that trying to construct a body of politically-inspired law has limited chances of changing anything.
Whilst I don’t doubt the sincerity of your attempt to unify, I make the suggestion that the practical method of law enforcement, alcohol supply reduction and housing in Alice Springs for those who may wish to leave remote communities for education and employment opportunities in town has better prospects than adding to the divisions on the hill.

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22
@ Paul Parker, posted 1st March, 2018 at 6:49am: How appropriate was ‘Sit-down money’ and the ‘Two kilometer law’, Paul?
Do you absolve the critical mass of take-away outlets in the 5km radius of the CBD as having any impact on the situation you describe?
Generational alcoholism has something to do with the present historical ennui and the police have stated that they can’t arrest their way out of it, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on failures to deal appropriately with intoxication and disturbing the peace.

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