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2008 Media Release: Ban on alcohol destined to build brighter future

Commission Commission – General

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Ban on alcohol destined to build brighter future

Extending the ban on full and mid-strength take away alcohol for an indefinite period in Western Australia’s Fitzroy Crossing is a step in the right direction, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma and Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick said today.

“This move paves the way for promoting long-term change in the community,” Commissioner Calma said.

“Whilst this indefinite extension will be assessed at 12 months for its effectiveness, its extension is a testament to the Aboriginal women leaders in the community whose determination to create a better future for their community has led to this extension being  granted,” Commissioner Broderick said.

“These women, with the support of many men in the community, put in a huge effort to get this extension in place and I congratulate them on their success," she said.

“This is yet another example of community led solutions, which is exactly the sort of thing we have been advocating for in Indigenous communities around the country: when local Indigenous people are involved in instigating and building change in their communities, there is a unique opportunity to achieve positive and long-term change,” Mr Calma said.

“Extension of this alcohol ban is just the start. It is essential that governments get behind the Fitzroy community's efforts to push ahead with positive initiatives in health, housing and education.”

Commissioner Broderick said there had been a significant reduction of reported instances of domestic violence since the ban had been introduced and that hospital visits related to alcohol abuse had also been reduced.

The West Australian director of liquor licensing banned the takeaway sale of full-strength and mid-strength alcohol last October for six months following the high rates of domestic violence and suicide in the area.

Media contact: Louise McDermott on (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597