Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Extending the alcohol ban at Fitzroy Crossing

The Australian Government supports continuing the alcohol ban at Fitzroy Crossing beyond its due expiry date of 23 May 2008.

There have been marked improvements in health, education and safety since the ban was imposed by the Western Australian director of liquor licensing in October at the request of local women.

Women from the Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Centre lobbied strongly for the ban and the results vindicate their concerns and their determination to do something about alcohol abuse in their community.

I commend these women for acknowledging the problems in the community and having the courage to speak out.

This sort of action at the community level is vital if we are serious about making a difference in Indigenous communities.

A study by the Notre Dame University has found that the alcohol ban has led to a 50 per cent fall in the number of people seeking treatment at the Fitzroy Crossing Emergency Department.

As well there has been a 27 per cent reduction in alcohol related domestic violence, and a 14 per cent increase in high school attendance.

These early results are encouraging and the Australian Government supports the extension of the alcohol ban.

We are determined to take every measure we can to turn around the shocking levels of neglect and abuse in many remote Indigenous communities.

We are also funding family violence prevention legal services, an Indigenous women’s program, a childcare support program and emergency relief in the Fitzroy Valley.