Based on extensive community consultation and research (see d’Abbs et al and Crundall), the GAG adopted a regional Alcohol Management Strategy in 2010. Comprising a range of strategies, it was designed to achieve three major goals:
More responsible alcohol supply
Enhanced treatment and care
There is a Summary of the Strategy. A majority of the initial recommendations have been completed. While work continues on implementing the remaining measures, a number have been varied as circumstances and events in the region have changed. The Plan remains a live document.
Key Activity Update and News
There are several elements now in place or being examined to help improve alcohol management in the area.
A local Liquor Accord has been signed off as an agreement between licensees in Jabiru and at Cooinda and South Alligator, Police, Gambling and Licensing Services, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation and the Gunbang Action Group. It is designed to eliminate anti-social behaviour at licensed premises and enhance the enjoyment of patrons as a result. The Accord contains a number of provisions dealing with safety and security, the responsible service of alcohol, public amenity and patron conduct.
The last meeting of the Accord members was 3 December 2015.
In 2013 the Northern Territory Government introduced Alcohol Protection Orders (APO). These can be applied by Police to any person who is intoxicated and commits an offence that has a penalty of at least six months imprisonment. An APO prohibits a person from entering a licensed permises, as well as purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol. If a person supplies alcohol to an individual known to be on an APO then that person can also be charged with an offence.
The initial prohibition is for three months, with any breaches extending the time and increasing possible fines. A person subject to an APO can be checked by Police at any time to see whether he or she has been drinking or is in possession of alcohol.
Further details about the operation of APO's can be found at the Police website: www.pfes.nt.gov.au/Police/Community-safety/Alcohol-protection-orders.aspx. A Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions are available at the site.
A Ban System for misbehaviour is also in place. The Liquor Act allows licensees to ban patrons from their premises. A local system has operated in Kakadu for a number of years to bring a coordinated approach to banning individuals across all licensed premises in Kakadu. This Banning Framework has been reviewed and updated. It is now incorporated into the Liquor Accord.
To support the ban system, a local photographic ID has been developed and is available to Bininj people who live permanently in the region. It is the West Arnhem ID Card. This is an alternative form of identification that can be presented at local licensed premises. The card includes a photograph, person’s name, address, date of birth and signature. This is useful for people who do not have a driver’s license, a Proof of Age card or some other standard form of identification.
Attention is now being focused on developing Alcohol Managment Plans for each of the Homelands. This approach should help build greater local responsibility for alcohol use, as communities will set objectives to be reached and decide on actions they will take to improve health and safety. An audio that explains the processes and responsibilities involved with an Alcohol Management Plan in both the local Kunwinjku language and English is available at https://sound.cloud.com/nakardbam/alcohol-action-plan-kunwinjku-english.
The Men's Shed established through the Jabiru Health Clinic is now operating on a limited basis. The facility has been painted and refurbished, but is still seeking more equipment and materials for its programs. A holistic health session (incorporating lifestyle skills, health promotion, chronic diseases, alcohol and other drugs, etc) is being planned and will soon be advertised for men to attend. More information can be obtained from the coordinators, Sampson Henry and Jeremy Coaby, who can be contacted at the clinic.