Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting campaigners for alcohol restrictions in WA

Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, has backed the stand taken by West Australian woman Ms Daisy Ward who has called for tough alcohol restrictions in Indigenous communities.

Ms Ward’s brother died from heat stroke while being transported in a prison van to Kalgoorlie after he was arrested for drink driving in 2008 in Laverton in the Western Desert of WA.

The harrowing circumstances of Mr Ward’s death, which Coroner Alistair Hope found to be ‘wholly unnecessary and avoidable’; have caused unimaginable distress for his family.

Ms Ward has spoken out against the destructive impact alcohol abuse has on individual people’s lives as well as whole communities.

With her call for alcohol restrictions, Ms Ward joins a growing number of Indigenous leaders taking action, recognising that alcohol abuse is condemning entire communities to a future of violence and despair.

Alcohol abuse is destroying Indigenous communities and must be dealt with if we are to have any hope for the future.

Women like Emily Carter, June Oscar, Doreen Green and Robyn Long, from the Kimberley communities of Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek have seen the impact and have fought for, and won, alcohol restrictions in the face of strong opposition.

The Australian Government believes alcohol restrictions are essential to reduce the shocking levels of violence and abuse in many communities. Restricting alcohol sales means more money can be spent in the best interests of children.

Since alcohol bans were introduced in Fitzroy Crossing in October 2007, there have been marked improvements in health education and safety.

A study by the Notre Dame University reported a 27 per cent reduction in alcohol related domestic violence and a 50 per cent fall in the number of people seeking treatment at the emergency department.

Alcohol restrictions in the communities of Laverton, Leonora, Leinster, Kookynie and Menzies are currently being considered by the Western Australian Director of Liquor Licensing, Mr Barry Sargeant. A decision is expected by the end of the month.