Evaluation of the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Alcohol Management System

Description

In order to combat the increasingly adverse impacts of alcohol consumption on Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island every person in the region, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, must hold a permit to buy or consume takeaway alcohol. This evaluation of the new Alcohol Management System included interviews of more than 62 individuals, a postal survey of township residents, a review of routinely collected data and of Licensing Commission records. All agreed that this system has led to improvements in community function in those communities worst affected by alcohol. In particular there has been reduced violence and increased harmony. Interviewees’ accounts were corroborated by police data showing marked reductions in incidents of violence coming to the attention of the police. The relative isolation of the region has made controlling the supply of alcohol easier than might be possible on some mainland communities. However there is widespread acknowledgement among interviewees that a key ingredient of the success of the Alcohol Management System is the ownership and support of the System by the Aboriginal communities and by key local service providers, employers and by the licensed premises. Areas of concern and potential improvement to the administration of the System have been identified, and a set of recommendations is presented.

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