AAP Update from earlier reports
The federal government is planning an inquiry into alcohol misuse in Indigenous communities across the nation.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion is in early talks with the chair of the House of Representatives’ standing committee on indigenous affairs Dr Sharman Stone.
Alcohol-fuelled violence in indigenous communities will be considered for the inquiry’s terms of reference.
Earlier on Wednesday Senator Scullion told ABC radio the federal government was planning a wide-ranging inquiry into alcohol-fuelled violence across the country – from downtown Sydney to remote outback communities
However, the coalition government later put that down to a misunderstanding, with a spokesman for Senator Scullion saying the inquiry would only look into alcohol misuse in indigenous communities.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion announces parliamentary inquiry into alcohol-fuelled violence
The Federal Government will hold a national inquiry into how to tackle increasing rates of alcohol-fuelled violence.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion says the terms of reference will be wide-raging, and will include everything from an evaluation of the Northern Territory’s scrapped Banned Drinker Register to reducing violence outside Sydney’s pubs.
The inquiry will consider solutions tied to both the supply of, and demand for, alcohol.
Senator Scullion says alcohol abuse is so severe nationally that it is time for politicians to abandon one-eyed solutions.
“We become welded to one end of the spectrum and we have a polarised argument, this is the only way,” he said.
He says the Government is still deciding which parliamentary committee will be the best forum for the bipartisan national inquiry.
“This sort of inquiry that can look at alcohol management measures in all its shapes and forms,” Senator Scullion said.
“I think it can inform us to make sure that the regulators and law makers across all the jurisdictions of Australia have the very best evidence under which to ensure that all our management plans in the future are effective and really change those negative aspects of alcohol consumption.”
The Australian National Council on Drugs says the inquiry must focus on the price, promotion and availability of alcohol, not just on pubs and hotels.
The council’s executive director, Gino Vambuca, says the two big retailers must also be examined.
“People often talk about the responsibility of the individual, that’s true but there’s a responsibility on the alcohol industry and in particular Coles and Woolworths,” he said.
“As major retailers look at their practices and start to look at what they do and so that’s what the inquiry should focus on as well as the hotels and bars and clubs.”