Alcohol misuse: no easy fix
The responsible consumption of alcohol can be an enjoyable part of a health happy lifestyle but alcohol misuse and abuse is a sad social problem and should be tackled wherever it exists.
The Katherine Times story Alcohol policy to feature in Katherine election (KT Aug. 16) raises a number of suggested solutions around alcohol policy. Northern Territory governments have a long history of trying many different and sometimes radical solutions to tackle the problems of alcohol misuse.
There are already more than 100 places in the NT where alcohol is totally banned under the law, outside a licensed premises without a liquor permit or special event licence. Territorians will know all too well that some of these have worked and some haven’t. More often than not if there’s a determination to get around these bans then a way, like sly grog running, will be found.
Blanket control measures rarely address the underlying social, economic and cultural issues that create and perpetuate the abuse and misuse of alcohol. The measures that are most likely to succeed in the future are ones where local community leaders and members, industry operators, police, government officials and health authorities are all involved and supportive in planning, implementing and managing them.
Each community faces its own unique circumstances and like any other harmful consumption, it should be dealt with by helping those affected, not restricting a whole population or by moving problems elsewhere. Affected communities should be empowered with education and assistance to help them both develop and regularly review the effectiveness of community decisions around alcohol.
The alcohol beverages industry has no simple solution to alcohol misuse because there isn’t one, but we fully accept our responsibility to help tackle it. We look forward to working with local members and governments of any party or persuasion across the NT to develop targeted, local and sensible solutions to alcohol misuse problems.
- F. Taylor, executive director, Alcohol Beverages Australia
Fracking is unacceptable
‘Territorians beware – our future is fracked’ is the headline on a full page advertisement taken out recently by 66 pastoral companies in the NT. The signatories to the advertisement say that in the coming election to vote for a leadership that will protect the Territory’s most precious asset, water; and that allowing shale oil and gas fracking will be a potentially catastrophic blow to our agricultural industry.
The NT government presently supports current laws that permit fracking companies to access our properties without our consent, construct gas fields with hundreds of gas wells, frack waste water ponds etc. The current Member for Katherine has often called locals concerned about pollution of our waters, our rivers and aquifers scaremongers. What does he have to say to all these concerned farmers and pastoralists?
- J. Tapp, Katherine
Fracking is not risky
I am somewhat concerned at the misinformation on fracking that has been put out over the past two or so years.
It has become a scare campaign complete with lies and emotive, misleading statements.
We have been continually bombarded with scenes from coal seam gas activities that have no relevance whatsoever to hydraulic fracturing of the deep shales in the NT.
I am a rural resident that is 100 per cent reliant on bore water.
If I thought that there was any risk to my water supply I would be fighting against fracking to the utmost.
The fact that I am not fighting demonstrates my faith in the current system.
- K. Jolley, Katherine