Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Additional services for a safer Alice Springs

Joint Media Release with:

  • Karl Hampton MLA, NT Minister for Central Australia
    Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari

People at risk from alcohol abuse will receive intensive support through a new Safe and Sober Program under the $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, today announced more than $5.4 million over two and a half years to provide much needed services for people seeking alcohol rehabilitation.

In 2008 more than 65 per cent of assaults in Alice Springs involved alcohol.

‘Alcohol abuse is destroying the lives of too many Alice Springs residents and must be urgently dealt with to turn this around,’ Ms Macklin said.

‘Acute overcrowding and sub-standard housing combined with alcohol abuse and hopelessness have led to despair and horrific violence in the town camps.

‘Additional support and rehabilitation services are essential to help people overcome their dependence on alcohol and start taking responsibility for themselves and their families.’

Eight teams consisting of a therapist and an Aboriginal Family Support worker will help link people to a range of government services, including health, justice, harm minimisation and family and youth services. Structured, intensive therapy will be offered in a culturally sensitive way.

The funding will also fill recognised gaps in current services through the expansion of community-based interventions and a program for prison inmates.

Mr Hampton said the Alice Springs Transformation Plan was about working together through new partnerships, with a higher level of coordination and integration of services.

‘In addition to the Safe and Sober Program, the Alice Springs Transformation Plan will invest a further $80,400 to help fit out a Transitional Aftercare facility, managed by Drug and Alcohol Services Association (DASA),’ Mr Hampton said.

‘The fit-out of the DASA facility is an important part of the overall alcohol rehabilitation strategy, supporting up to eight people in an extended program of re-integration into the community.

‘The fit-out includes furniture and equipment to make eight beds available for people in treatment and office space for staff. The funding will also help purchase aids and equipment for use in the rehabilitation process, landscaping and play equipment for children visiting family.’

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments today also announced Anglicare Northern Territory will receive $3 million to lead the new Communities for Children initiative in Alice Springs.

Anglicare and local service providers will work with vulnerable families and children at risk in Alice Springs to provide additional support through intensive early intervention programs.

Families with children from newborn to 12 years will have access to intensive support programs, including home visits, early learning and literacy programs, early development of social and communication skills, parenting and family support programs, child nutrition, and family community events.

Ms Macklin said early intervention and support services were critical to helping prevent child neglect and abuse.

‘Families and children in Alice Springs, many of them Indigenous, face significant disadvantage and have complex needs which require a range of targeted services,’ Ms Macklin said.

The Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, welcomed the additional services.

‘This investment will hopefully empower local people to help themselves and provide long-term benefits for individuals, their families and the whole community,’ Mr Snowdon said.