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.”
CLP IN HIDING OVER GROG INQUIRY DEBACLE
Delia Lawrie | Posted Thursday, 9 January 2014
The Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, has called on the CLP to explain to Territorians just what type of inquiry into alcohol-fuelled violence will be held following news emerging today that it will focus on Indigenous harm only.
“Families regardless of race are searching for answers as to why random alcohol-fuelled violence has meant the death or serious injury of someone they love,” Ms Lawrie said.
“What on earth is going on? Yesterday CLP Senator Nigel Scullion announced a ‘broad-ranging national inquiry into alcohol-fuelled violence’ and said everything would be looked at, yet today we hear that it will only focus on Indigenous Australians.
“Are we to believe that yesterday Senator Scullion recognised that grog harm was a whole-of-society issue yet today it’s a race-based issue? This is extraordinary.
“What has changed in a day? The national debate on grog-related harm flared after violent incidents in Kings Cross during the festive season and the outpouring of NSW Police outrage prompted widespread debate. Why now is it harm to Indigenous people only?
“How do we segregate out the affects of alcohol on Australians? Why would Government discriminate?
“It is nonsense to think that only Indigenous Australians engage in alcohol-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour. In the Northern Territory we know that non-Indigenous Territorians drink at 1.5 times the national average and Indigenous Territorians drink at twice the national average.
This issue affects everyone.
“Why has Senator Scullion changed the scope of the Inquiry? What has happened since yesterday? Why is our Chief Minister Adam Giles silent on this issue? Does he agree that the misuse of alcohol is only an Indigenous issue?”
Here we go again, another enquiry into Aboriginal People living in Remote areas. Since this mob have come to government they have had discussion across a wide range of issues with a broad sector of Government Departments meetings in Cities around employment and training, Mundine meeting in hotel in Perth with the mining and Business Sector. Seem to me the only People who no one is talking to is our mob living in Remote Areas who are going to be most effected. Time for Congress to stand up along with the Aboriginal People sitting on Abbotts Advisory Council they can’t be silent on these issues I assume they put in an expression of interest to be on this Council because they wanted to make a difference and improve services and quality of life for Aboriginal People in this Country. Had up to my neck.
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