Philip (Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm): Don’t believe …

Comment on LETTER: Labor’s $150m Alice town camps disaster by Bob Durnan.

Philip (Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm): Don’t believe the hype. The figure of $150 million implied by Senator Scullion as being spent on the town camp houses is wrong.
At least $50 million of this total was scheduled for the Alice Springs Transformation Plan (ASTP), which has been implemented parallel to the Town Camp Housing Program over the last four years.
The ASTP includes funding for early childhood, alcohol and drug, family interventions and supports, tenancy support and management, visitor accommodation, transitional training about how to live sustainably in houses, and many other programs designed to make town camp life more livable and functional. Many of these programs are still in action, and some are likely to continue for years yet under the Stronger Futures legislation and funding.
The main problem which still has not been dealt with effectively, is the excessive amounts of grog still being consumed regularly by many people in Alice Springs, but especially on town camps, particularly by some visitors; this was acknowledged in Tangentyere’s statement that “People are under siege by levels of alcoholism, alcohol-related harm, basically the rivers of grog … People are living in fear”.
One part of the solution to this problem of excessive consumption (especially binge drinking) could be a floor price on alcohol, set at the price of beer. Another would be less hours of trade in takeaway alcohol, and one or two days per week free from sales of takeaway alcohol. A third, and possibly the best in relation to the problems identified by Tangentyere, would be a return to an effective implementation of the Banned Drinkers Register, together with the SMART Court, and clinical assessments, referrals for treatment and adjudication of Income Management rates by the AOD Tribunal.
The advent in the next few months of the Commonwealth government’s new Remote Jobs and Training Program could also greatly assist, but its chances of effective performance would also be greatly improved were it to be accompanied by an effective turning down of the grog tap, by the methods mentioned above.

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