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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Australian Government supports alcohol restrictions in Kimberley

The Australian Government welcomes the Western Australian Liquor Licensing Director Barry Sargeant’s proposal to extend tough alcohol restrictions across the Kimberley in WA.

We encourage the WA Government to back Mr Sargeant’s proposal and implement alcohol restrictions to ensure that money is spent in the interests of children and to reduce the horrific level of alcohol fuelled violence and neglect occurring in many Kimberley communities.

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

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

There was a 27 per cent reduction in alcohol related domestic violence, and a 14 per cent increase in high school attendance.

The Director of Liquor Licensing has announced that licensees in the Kimberley will have to “show cause” as to why restriction should not be imposed on the sale of certain take-away alcohol.

The Director of Liquor Licensing is expected to make his final decision soon after February 20.

We encourage the WA Government to work with Indigenous people in the Kimberley to introduce the restrictions.

The Federal Government provides $8.7 million annually for drug, alcohol and mental health services in the Kimberley and $2.53 million has been committed to establish a rehabilitation service in Wyndham.

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