LETTER: Alcohol mandatory treatment Bill up for comment

Sir – 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.

This is one of the most significant reforms in Northern Territory health and alcohol policy in recent years and the Government is determined to get it right. Under the changes, problem drinkers taken into protective custody three times in two months could face up to 12 weeks of alcohol mandatory treatment.

The Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Bill sets out the criteria, processes and powers that will mandate patient assessment, treatment, income management and aftercare orders.

The Government looks forward to debating key points behind the legislation and welcomes stakeholder feedback.

Our plan to treat problem drinkers is a positive move that provides a pathway to recovery that has never been explored before.

The Labor Party has no plans to assist problem drinkers and its only promise is to bring back the Banned Drinker Register, which failed to stop problem drinkers from consuming alcohol.

Alcohol Rehabilitation Minister, Robyn Lambley, said she has already discussed alcohol mandatory treatment with dozens of stakeholders across the Northern Territory and looks forward to continuing this dialogue in coming weeks.

The Bill will be posted on the Department of Health website today.

John Elferink

Leader of Government Business

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Posted May 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Issues that need to be taken on board when dealing with problem drinkers: alcoholics vs. abusers, what is the difference? What about: Firewater, it puts Fire in the Belly!?
    Grog a Social Lubricant? Habitual Sots? Getting Charged Up!? What of the issue of the sense / feeling of empowerment that only grog can deliver? As for rehabilitation, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been involved with and has successfully served / treated many Aboriginal people over many years. Generally, to be accepted in a rehab / program, one has to be assessed by an experienced counsellor for suitability / genuine commitment.
    Otherwise, the program is upset and the principles of rehabilitation is devalued.
    Court ordered rehabilitation simply does not work. It never has. (The Betty Ford Clinic and results, exists only in Hollywood.)
    And it all becomes a very expensive waste of time and resources. But then, who wants to give up the Fire-Water? Who wants to give up self-empowerment? Who want’s to move out of the comfort zone of victim-hood? As Homer’s mate Carl said, alcohol is the best antidote for responsibility.
    I’ll throw this in too: The development and / or success of any program or initiative will depend at the bottom line, on the character and the outlook of the Aboriginal people themselves (anon). To be continued.

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  2. Paul Parker
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Re: Roger, Darwin, Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm.
    NTG remains unable take FULL responsibility for welfare of the NT, due large NT areas remaining Commonwealth controlled ghettos and fiefdoms.
    Commonwealth exemptions create, support and promote apartheid, with clear results in NT rural communities.
    Commonwealth needs to amend the ALR(NT) to extinguish exemptions from otherwise common and legal standards of rights and responsibilities, in the process depriving many rural residents and communities opportunities to improve things.
    Elsewhere risk of losing property motivates many to ensure their homes, dwellings and tenants satisfy standards, or transfer such responsibilities through leases.
    ALR(NT) Land Trusts as landlords obstruct through refusal to issue leases whilst they avoid being held accountable for their housing and tenancy issues.

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  3. Roger, Darwin
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Another negative comment relating to the Labor Party, this time from John Elferink which appears to be a left over from the election campaign as he refers to Labor as “having no plans to assist problem drinkers”.
    The ELF and the entire CLP government have to wake up and realise this is not ‘back to the future’ September 2012.
    The election was eight months ago, they won and have to take FULL responsibility for the welfare of the NT.
    And yet every CLP member, first led led by Terry Mills and now Adam Giles, still has not come to grips with the fact that ‘they’ are now totally responsible for the future of all of us.
    I really think this notion frightens the living crap out of them so they continue to play the “BLAME GAME”.

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